For hundreds of years, the white coat has been a symbol of physicians and medicine. And for many students, receiving a white coat is a rite of passage in the journey from layman to healthcare professional. For 52 Slippery Rock University graduate students taking part in the University's April 9 White Coat Ceremony, it also marked their place in history as the first group from SRU's physician assistant studies program to accomplish the feat. SRU's program is a 24-month program that combines academic and clinical instruction to prepare graduates for evidence-based practice, case management and wellness services. The program, housed at SRU's Harrisville Building, includes 13 state-of-the-art labs and equipment that simulates real-time patient care, including an interactive mannequin that produces mock vital signs. Four exam rooms include cameras for professors to monitor student progress.