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Tuskegee University College of Veterinary Medicine salutes 66 graduates at inaugural commencement

May 09, 2017

Veterinary Medicine graduating class poses in front of BTW statue
TUCVM graduates at the Booker T. Washington Monument following the graduation ceremony.

TUSKEGEE, Ala. (May 9, 2017) – The Tuskegee University College of Veterinary Medicine (TUCVM) bid farewell to 66 veterinary medical graduates during its inaugural commencement on May 6 in the Tuskegee University Chapel. Twenty-seven of the 66 students graduated with honors. This historic day was full of excitement as commencement speaker Dr. Christine Jenkins gave an inspiring commencement address and challenged the Tuskegee University Veterinary Medicine Class of 2017. The students graduating in 2017 are the 68th class to receive the Doctor of Veterinary Medicine (DVM) degree from Tuskegee University. 

Jenkins, senior director at Zoetis Veterinary Medical Services and Outcomes Research, U.S., shared five main points with the Class of 2017 as they prepare to enter their professional careers in veterinary medicine. They included the following: “One, graduates are entering a profession with many choices in which they are prepared. Two, take advantage of every opportunity early on to develop clinical proficiency and take on the challenging cases that others avoid. Three, always be humble and honest and learn about business to be financially successful as well as put a plan in place to address financial debt from student loans. Four, most importantly, learn how to be healthy both mind, body and soul—work through your challenges then celebrate. And five, take advantage of the strong Tuskegee network because ‘Mother Tuskegee’ has provided each veterinarian a great education,” Jenkins said. 

“The first inaugural commencement, hooding and oath ceremony was truly a huge success and another historic milestone for the college,” said Dr. Ruby Perry, dean of the Tuskegee University College of Veterinary Medicine. 

“Having a separate commencement allowed our veterinary medical graduates the opportunity to have the conferring of their Doctor of Veterinary Medicine degree along with being hooded and participate in the administration of the Veterinarian’s Oath in the same venue.” Dr. Roslyn Casimir Whittington, interim associate dean for Academic and Student Affairs, presented the Class of 2017 after the conferring of the degrees.

The hooding ceremony is recognized in the medical profession to remind the graduates of the high standards that they should uphold as they enter into the profession as veterinarians. Dr. Pamela Martin, small animal internal medicine section chief, and Dr. Andrew Lovelady, director of clinical programs and large animal ambulatory clinician, assisted in the hooding ceremony and placed the professional doctoral hood over the head of each graduate signifying achievement and completion of the veterinary medical program. 

In previous years, the College of Veterinary Medicine always participated in the main Commencement Ceremony of the university, and then convened afterward in another building for the Veterinary Oath Ceremony.

In addition to the powerful message from Dr. Jenkins to the graduates, Tuskegee University President Brian Johnson and Dean Perry honored four veterinary medical alumni with the Presidential Distinguished Alumni Award during this historic occasion. The recipients included: Dr. Adam E. McKee (‘58), president of McKee Global Enterprise LLC, an energy and research management consulting business in Rockville, Maryland; Dr. Willie M. Reed (’78), the current dean of the College of Veterinary Medicine and professor of Veterinary Anatomic Pathology at Purdue University; Dr. William T. Watson (’65), retired health scientist administrator and director of the National Center for Research Resources Chimpanzee Sanctuary Program at the National Institutes of Health; and the commencement speaker, Dr. Jenkins (’84).

A reception followed for the graduates, family and friends at the Kellogg Hotel and Conference Center on the campus of Tuskegee University. 

About Tuskegee University College of Veterinary Medicine

The Tuskegee University College of Veterinary Medicine (TUCVM) is the only veterinary medical professional program located on the campus of a historically black college or university (HBCU) in the United States. The TUCVM has educated more than 70 percent of the nation’s African-American veterinarians, 10 percent of Hispanic/Latino veterinarians and is recognized as the most diverse of all 30 schools/colleges of veterinary medicine in the U.S. The primary mission of the TUCVM is to provide an environment that fosters a spirit of active, independent and self-directed learning, intellectual curiosity, creativity, critical thinking, problem solving, ethics, and leadership; and promotes teaching, research and service in veterinary medicine and related disciplines

Veterinary Medicine graduation ceremony inside of TU Chapel
Veterinary Medicine graduation ceremony inside of TU Chapel.

© 2017 Tuskegee University