Members of the University of Missouri College of Veterinary Medicine Class of 2019 celebrated the successful completion of two years of study of basic veterinary sciences and their move into clinical rotations during the annual White Coat Ceremony Oct. 15. The transition ceremony was held at the Missouri Theatre in Columbia.
The 110 members of the class selected a family member, friend or mentor to present and assist them in donning their laboratory coats. They will next spend 19 months working in the Veterinary Health Center’s Small Animal, Food Animal and Equine hospitals and the Veterinary Medical Diagnostic Laboratory, as well as undertaking preceptorships in private practices or with public agencies on their way to completing their DVM degrees.
Associate Dean for Student Affairs Angela Tennison, DVM, who served as the master of ceremonies, noted that the students are closer to the end of their professional curriculum than the beginning.
The first two years of preclinical training provided them with a foundation in biomedical sciences and included courses in anatomy, physiology, cell and molecular biology, pathology, pharmacology, microbiology, virology and toxicology. They also learned fundamentals in clinical disciplines that they will need for the rest of their veterinary education including, anesthesiology, clinical pathology, radiology, public health and medicine and surgery.
CVM Interim Dean Carolyn Henry, DVM, MS, told the students that while she may not know of the individual obstacles they each faced to reach this milestone in their education, she was aware that they had made sacrifices, and there may have been times when they wanted to throw in the towel.
“You may have missed out on taking a trip with your family or friends in order instead to participate in the Veterinary Research Scholars Program,” she said. “You may have turned down dinner and a movie with a date to stay home with reheated ramen and an anatomy textbook. You may have missed birthday parties, baptisms, bar mitzvahs, and Little League games.”
John Dodam, DVM, MS, PhD, chairman of Veterinary Medicine and Surgery Department, told the students that as their education moves from classroom to clinics their exams may no longer be multiple choice tests, but instead they would be tested in the middle of the night as they work to save an animal’s life.
Class President Tanner May provided the response on behalf of the class and thanked the professors and clinicians for making time in their busy schedules to help himself and his classmates beyond their normal teaching hours. During his remarks, a banner was lowered behind him imprinted with a litter of puppies that students would share on their class Facebook page whenever comment sections began to reflect students’ stress.
“With only 12 blocks left, our journey is nowhere near over,” May said. “As we take this next step, or should I say blind leap, into the hospital, we might finally begin to feel like veterinarians. Whether that comes with feelings of excitement or anticipation, I know that we have been prepared to successfully work alongside the clinicians of this hospital. Now I ask of you: classmates, faculty, family, friends, adorable puppy picture, we will still need you throughout these next two years. We will still need to hear your words of support and encouragement as we begin to hone the skills we’ve been taught over the last two years. The late nights working hard are not over, but the days of getting to help and heal creatures big and small has finally arrived.”