July 18, 2009
On behalf of the California Dental Association, I want to congratulate you on the completion of your first year of dental school. The white coat ceremony symbolizes your readiness to begin patient treatment.
As student members of organized dentistry, you agree to abide by a professional code of ethics. Once you start to treat patients, you will hold their trust. So, you need to hold yourselves to the highest ethical standards.
You began to build your reputation the day you arrived at the Dugoni School of Dentistry and you have been extraordinarily fortunate to have been mentored by Dr. Dugoni, one of dentistry's living legends. From that first day, you began not only to represent yourselves and your families, many of whom are with you today, but also...your school...and the profession of dentistry. It takes a lifetime to build a professional reputation...but it can take only five minutes to destroy it. Nurture your reputation well. It is, after all a reflection of everything that you are and all those you represent.
You are surrounded and guided by some of the best educators and clinicians in the world. The camaraderie of your classmates along with memories of shared experiences are the treasures you will take with you. Once you graduate, organized dentistry will be there with you in every phase of your professional life to support you locally, at the state level, and at the national level so that you may achieve your personal best and reach your highest potential.
I'd like to leave you with a simple little affirmation by an unknown author that is posted in my office ... it reads:
Keep your words positive: Words become your behaviors
Keep your behaviors positive: Behaviors become your habits
Keep your habits positive: Habits become your values
Keep your values positive: Values become your destiny
Welcome to the best profession in the world!