Tuskegee University’s Veterinary College and UNC Pembroke

 Join Forces to Improve the Nation’s Pool for the Veterinary Workforce

by Anissa L. Riley

TUSKEGEE, Ala. (July 28, 2017) – The Tuskegee University College of Veterinary Medicine (TUCVM) and the University of North Carolina Pembroke (UNCP) are partnering to launch a pathway program for UNCP graduates to enter the veterinary program at Tuskegee University.

TUCVM Dean Perry (left) displays a customized
T-shirt commemorating the partnership
with UNCP Chancellor Cummings (right).

The long-standing relationship between the UNCP and the TUCVM has resulted into an official agreement between the two aimed at improving the nation’s health status by increasing racial diversity in the veterinary workforce.  A formal Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) signing ceremony was held on July 7 at UNCP’s Chavis University Center Lumbee Hall.

Dr. Ruby L. Perry, dean of the Tuskegee University College of Veterinary Medicine and Brandon Morgan, director of the Office of Veterinary Admissions and Recruitment at Tuskegee University, made the 450-mile trip to attend the signing ceremony at Pembroke to underscore the commitment of TUCVM to this partnership with UNCP.

The MOU signing ceremony highlighted the participation of Dr. Robin Cummings, chancellor of UNCP; Dr. Jeff Frederick, dean of the College of Arts and Sciences at UNCP; and Dr. Ruby L. Perry, dean of the TUCVM, joining forces in an agreement of formal guidelines. The program is available to all students but the agreement gives a pathway for the recruitment and admittance of qualified underrepresented minority (URM) students with an emphasis on Native American students from UNCP to the Tuskegee University College of Veterinary Medicine.  The primary focus of the institutional cooperation between the universities shall be mainly established between the TUCVM and the UNCP Department of Biology but can include other majors on the campus at UNCP.

Mr. Morgan, as TUCVM’s director of veterinary admissions and recruitment, and Dr. Velinda Woriax, advisor to the pre-vet club at UNCP, will work together to coordinate the recruitment activities, as well as oversee the advising and admissions process for talented UNCP undergraduate students to pursue a career in veterinary medicine.  The goal is to increase Native American and other URM students in the applicant pool.

Chancellor Cummings, Dean Perry, TUCVM Admissions
Director Brandon Morgan, and
UNCP Dean Jeff Frederick.

“We are excited to be involved in the mission of UNC Pembroke which is rooted in a history of successfully educating underrepresented minorities to make significant contributions in professional and leadership roles in society; and continue to advance the rich legacy of the Tuskegee University College of Veterinary Medicine,” said Dr. Ruby Perry, dean of TUCVM.

“The history at UNCP between Tuskegee University and the Lumbee Indian Tribe is monumental. In fact, Tuskegee’s own Dr. Ellis Hall, who is the first African American board certified veterinary radiologist, was bestowed the honor as the ‘Father of the Lumbee Veterinarians’ because he helped the first two students from the Lumbee Indian Tribe receive their DVM degrees several decades ago, Dr. David E. Brooks (’78 alum) and Dr. Curt Locklear, Jr. (’79 alum),” Perry said.

Both Dr. Brooks and Dr. Locklear were recruited by Dr. Hall to attend Tuskegee in the early 1970s. So, Dr. Brooks noted that the signing of the MOU between the two universities is seen as the culmination of the recruitment trip 43 years ago made by Dr. Hall.

In attendance supporting the MOU ceremony were several local veterinarians that were also Tuskegee-educated veterinarians as well as some of their children that are also currently students at Tuskegee University. They included Tuskegee alumni Drs. David Brooks, Curt Locklear Jr., Terry Clark, Michael Deese, Melissa Chavis, and Issac Martinez. The current Tuskegee students in attendance were Austin and Jana Hunt, and Ben Mitchell.

"The signing of this MOU is a true testament to the commitment that TUCVM places on educating underrepresented groups in the veterinary profession.  We are eager to collaborate with UNCP and the alumni in the Pembroke area to support each prospective applicant in their pursuit of the Doctor of Veterinary Medicine professional degree," said Brandon Morgan, director of TUCVM Veterinary Admissions and Recruitment.

As a special treat, Tuskegee University guests were invited to participate in the Lumbee Homecoming Parade in the city of Pembroke and the 4th of July reception and fireworks at Lumbee Hall.