The University of Missouri College of Veterinary Medicine celebrated the Class of 2020’s transition into clinical rotations during the annual White Coat Ceremony, held Oct. 14, 2018, at the Missouri Theatre in Columbia, Missouri.
MU CVM students spend the first two years of their professional curriculum learning the basic sciences needed to practice veterinary medicine. They then spend 19 months in the clinical portion of their training during which they rotate through a series of required courses and electives. Under the supervision of clinicians, they work 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 doctorate of veterinary medicine.
The 113 members of the class selected a family member, friend or mentor to present the laboratory coat they will wear during some of their clinical rotations.
CVM Dean Carolyn J. Henry could not attend this year’s ceremony, but recorded a video greeting for the event.
“Regardless of whether your work uniform remains a white coat, or becomes coveralls, scrubs, a military uniform, or even business attire, it’s truly an exciting time to be a veterinarian,” Henry said. “Our role in animal, human, and environmental health has never been more important than it is today and that role changes and expands every year. I’d encourage each of you to be ready to embrace change and the opportunities that change presents. Remember, every good thing that has ever happened in your life happened because something changed.
“The White Coat Ceremony represents a change — the educational transition for your Class of 2020 from a predominant emphasis on veterinary basic sciences into clinical training,” she continued. “As part of your clinical experiences in Clydesdale Hall and in the hospital, public and farm settings outside of the CVM, you will also become the ambassadors for our college and of our profession. Never lose site of the importance of this role.”
Associate Dean for Student Affairs Angela Tennison, DVM, who served as the master of ceremonies, reminded the students that they now are closer to the end of their professional curriculum than the beginning.
After introducing the platform party, Tennison invited audience member Jenny Walton to the podium. Walton is the sister of David Auxier, a member of the class who passed away on Sept. 13, 2018, as the result of an accident. Walton addressed Auxier’s classmates on behalf of the family. Tennison then presented a white coat to Auxier’s widow, Shannon, and his father, Doug.
Following the presentation of white coats to the class members, John Dodam, DVM, MS, PhD, chairman of Veterinary Medicine and Surgery Department, welcomed them across the parking lot.
“I get to welcome you to that portion of your training where the application of science to clinical medicine becomes part of your daily life,” Dodam said. “Where medical decision-making involves an understanding of animal physiology and pharmacology, and where an understanding of human psychology is pretty important too.”
Class President Austin Sherman provided the response on behalf of the class and thanked faculty, family members and classmates for getting the group to the half-way point of their professional curriculum.
“On a personal note, one example I have noticed of us being there for each other is through those tough exam weeks,” Sherman said. “I cannot name the number of times my classmates have helped me survive a tough exam week by sharing study guides, answering questions, or what we have recently named “Information Brain Dump” at 5 a.m. in the comment section on our class Facebook page. Then there was the simple phone calls from or to our support network: moms and dads, grandmothers or grandfathers, family members or mentors, that provided that little extra encouragement when we needed it most.”