White Coat Ceremony

Ball Preparatory Academy for Science and Technology
White Coat Ceremony - Ball High School
Galveston, Texas - January 01, 2013

It is my honor to be here with you today for this White Coat Ceremony.  Although this may seem symbolic, this moment holds great significance for you and for your careers. Let me share a personal (and short) story to illustrate how this moment could be important to your future, and use this opportunity to recognize the most important group of people (besides your parents) who will have an impact on your career: Your teachers!

I grew up in Mexico City and as a kid, the only thing I wanted was to go to art school and become a visual artist. One day, in 9th Grade, I met my Biology teacher, Mr Arcadio de la Cruz, who jokingly introduced himself as “Barcadio”. He used “Barcadio” as in “Barco” or boat in Spanish. A “Barco teacher” is one that makes it easy for you to pass, takes you across the waters without a sweat. I’m sure you’re probably guessing already that Mr. de la Cruz was anything but easy… Actually, he might have been the hardest professor I’ve had in my student career! And yet, he is the one I remember. Always. That was more than 30 years ago, and I still remember him. He changed my life!

He showed to all of us what’s it like to be passionate for what you do. And he shared his love of science.

The irony is that his nickname may have foreshadowed more than my own love for science. I eventually became an oceagnographer with specialty in environmental chemistry. So yes, I too have a white coat, and believe it or not I still use it today (though it’s stained with all sorts of chemical marks).

Today, the white coat continues as the symbol of scientific, technical and medical authority and respect for those who possess this knowledge.  For those of you who go into the medical field, you will find that many patients view the white coat as a symbol of compassion, caring and hope.  Those of you who will be going into fields of scientific or technical research will find the white coat as a symbol of expertise with a desire to expand our knowledge and advance civilization through discoveries and inventions. 

I welcome each of you as you embark on your careers in medicine, and scientific and technical research.  This ceremony and these white coasts are a powerful symbol that honors you for your pursuit of knowledge.

Happy sailing!