The University of Missouri College of Veterinary Medicine graduated 115 new doctors of veterinary medicine on Sunday in a ceremony that was markedly different from previous commencement exercises. Despite the absence of handshakes or hugs between graduates and platform party members, COVID 19 didn’t prevent a few elbow bumps. Nor could the pandemic dampen the excitement of the country’s newest veterinarians or the enthusiasm of family and friends who watched the investiture of their loved ones either from socially distanced pods within Mizzou Arena or via Livestream
CVM Dean Carolyn Henry, DVM, MS, thanked the graduates for the many contributions they made to the college during their academic career, from organizing the college’s annual open house to serving as liaisons between the college and Veterinary Health Center clients.
“They have done all these things while simultaneously learning the science and clinical medicine necessary to become world-class veterinarians,” she said. “And this group of 115 achieved the right to sit in those seats today during unimagined circumstances, all the while showing resilience, humor and grace. Every person in this room is proud of you. And you should be so proud of yourselves.”
Several university leaders also offered congratulations through a prerecorded video.
“Congratulations, Tigers,” said Mun Choi, PhD, president of the University of Missouri system and MU chancellor, who was a member of the platform party. “I am so proud of you. Your resilience, your commitment to excellence and your positive approach to life were tested like never before, and you’ve shown incredible strength and grace through it all.
“And graduates, with the perspectives that you gained over the past 14 months, you will look at life much differently,” he continued. “But don’t fear to tread, instead explore the breadth and depth of what this life has to offer. And don’t become jaded. Instead, continue to be amazed at the wonders of life.”
Prior to the introduction of the graduates, David Wilson, DVM, MS, director of the Veterinary Health Center, introduced individuals present who were completing internships and residencies.
Bathilda Lake, DVM, a resident in the Small Animal Emergency and Critical Care Service, was selected by the graduates to participate in the ceremony. She explained the history and significance of the regalia. Associate Dean for Student and Academic Affairs Angela Tennison, DVM, then announced the name of each graduate.
Brian Frappier, DVM, PhD, associate teaching professor, and Colette Wagner-Mann, DVM, PhD, adjunct associate teaching professor, both in the CVM Department of Biomedical Sciences, served as the marshals for the commencement, guiding the graduates from their seats to the front of the arena to receive their hoods and diplomas.
Because of COVID safety concerns, Austin Hinds, DVM, MS, associate teaching professor of food animal medicine and surgery, also selected by the Class of 2021 to assist in the ceremony, presented each graduate with a hood, which they then placed around their own neck, rather than being hooded by a faculty or family member.
Dean Henry presented the graduates with their diplomas and President Choi offered his congratulations. Choi then conferred the degree on behalf of the University of Missouri curators.
Edward Migneco, DVM, who is president-elect of the Missouri Veterinary Medical Association, led the new doctors of veterinary medicine in reciting the Veterinarian’s Oath. “Welcome to the greatest profession in the world,” he concluded.
Members of the Class of 2021 chose Brad Uppinghouse, DVM, to deliver a response on their behalf.
“Together as a class we started together at VET, where we were able to meet our classmates and faculty,” Uppinghouse recalled. “We were given our first glimpse into the vet school life and we also learned of the resources our school provided both academically and professionally. It was a whirlwind of a trip that was meant to prepare us for starting vet school, but I feel like no amount of preparation can truly have you ready for vet school until you experience it firsthand. It’s a lot like IKEA furniture, the directions seem easy enough, but when you start putting it together you can’t find what you need, and you figure out you did something wrong 18 steps earlier.
“From our time together, I know each and every member of the Class of 2021 will thrive in any and all aspects of life. If two years of didactics, two years of clinical training, and persevering through a pandemic doesn’t prepare you for real life, nothing will. Congratulations doctors, the hard part is over,” he said.
To view more photos from the CVM Class of 2021 commencement, see our album on Facebook.