Dusten Rader/For The Recorder Fulton-Montgomery Community College Foundation Chairman Del B. Salmon speaks.
By Dusten Rader
For The Recorder
JOHNSTOWN — Area residents gathered in the Fulton-Montgomery Community College theater April 12 to recognize more than 130 current students and graduates of the Radiologic Technology program.
The inaugural Radiologic Technology White Coat Ceremony brought students back to the school from every year of the program since its inception in 2006.
According to F-MCC President Dustin Swanger, after nearly 13 years of offering the program the faculty decided it was time to recognize students with a white coat ceremony typical to medical schools. During the ceremony, Swanger gave a welcome speech.
“What a wonderful feeling to see all these white coats — I’ve never felt healthier in my life,” Swanger said. “This is a celebration of the profession and the outstanding graduates that we have had throughout the history of the program. We’ve had consistently a 100 percent pass rate on the licensure exam.”
F-MCC Foundation Board of Directors Chairman Del B. Salmon also made comments during the ceremony.
“A strong foundation secures future success,” Salmon said. “I want you all to thank your families for that strong foundation, thank yourselves and be proud of yourselves for your hard work and determination.”
Kullen Bailey, a 2014 graduate of the Radiologic Technology program and current clinical coordinator, gave the history of the White Coat during the event. He said the ceremony originated in Chicago in 1989 and the first was held in 1993. According to the founder, Dr. Arnold P. Gold, a physicians responsibility is not only to take care of patients, but also to care for them.
“As radiologic technologists we are no different as we uphold these same standards in our daily clinical practice,” Bailey said. “Not only do we have a duty to our patients, we have the responsibility of impacting their medical experience is a short period of time. … We share a drive and motivation to provide the best images possible with the lowest dose achievable in order to assist in providing optimal images for a radiologist to yield a diagnosis.”
Serving as keynote speaker of the evening was Radiology Technology program faculty member, former clinical coordinator and current program director Karlyn LaBate. She provided a number of facts about the technologists in attendance, including: 46 employees of St. Mary’s Amsterdam; mother and son graduates; a married couple who met during the program; three sets of sibling graduates; a national quiz bowl winner; four New York state essay winners, 15 state poster winners; two state Quiz Bowl teams placing first and second; two technologists who have original artwork on the professional journal; four international students; two radiation therapists who have opened the first service at the Rao Outpatient Pavilion; and 42 students who were the first in their family to go to college.
“I think this is an inspiring story,” LaBate said. “George Washington Carver said, ‘How far you go in life depends on your being tender with the young, compassionate with the aged, sympathetic with the striving and tolerant of the weak and strong; because someday in life you will have been all of these.’”
Bailey then returned to the podium to introduce the 11 graduated classes. Each student had their name read aloud and was presented with a pin by former program director and associate professor Cindy Close in recognition of their completion of the program.
The evening concluded with an Oath of the Health Professions led by Close, who also made closing remarks.
“The rad tech program at F-MCC was the collaboration of our communities and would not have been possible without the support of our local hospitals,” Close said. “At that time there was a severe shortage of rad tech and imaging professionals in this area. The cost to hospitals were skyrocketing and patient care was in jeopardy. … The result sits here, a skilled, dedicated and caring group of professionals that I am honored to be a part of — you have exceeded the expectations of the founders.”