Although the St. George’s University School of Veterinary Medicine Class of 2021’s commencement ceremony was virtual, as were some of their classes, their incredible achievements were very much real.
On June 5, SGU faculty as well as students’ friends and family members applauded the School’s newest graduates for persevering through challenging coursework and rigorous clinical training, all during a global health crisis. With the Doctor of Veterinary Medicine degrees in hand, they’re now equipped to successfully embark upon their professional careers as the world’s newest veterinarians.
“What I want you to remember is this: No matter where you are in the world today, no matter what the format of your graduation ceremony, the importance, the magnitude and the relevance of your achievement are in no way minimized,” said Tara Paterson, DVM ’03, president of the School of Veterinary Medicine Alumni Association.
Dr. Paterson, a charter class alumna and associate professor of small animal medicine and surgery at SGU, welcomed the 184 graduates from six different countries who tuned in with faculty, staff, family, and friends from around the world for the celebration, as they each received their Doctor of Veterinary Medicine.
“What makes the Class of 2021 so exceptional is its resilience to persevere in the face of a global pandemic,” said Dr. Paterson. “They did what all SGU students do—they persevered, they did not give up, and made the best of what was offered to them. They are resilient and truly incredible.”
In her address, keynote speaker Carley Jones, DVM ’21, challenged the students to remember the joy, passion, and perseverance that got them to their graduation day. She also shared two lessons that she and her classmates had learned during their time at SGU—the value of community and adaptability.
“The sense of community that you have bestowed upon each other is the perfect reflection of the type of doctors that you have become,” commended Dr. Jones. “Our ability to adapt to the obstacles we face will make us better doctors, better leaders, and better members of every community we become a part of.”
St. George’s University graduates shined in the recent Veterinary Internship & Residency Matching Program cycle, achieving a match rate of 72.1 percent, highest among Caribbean veterinary schools. It also compared favorably to the 53.5 percent match rate for all schools—including US schools—according to the VIRMP, a program sponsored by the American Association of Veterinary Clinicians (AAVC).
With the addition of these graduates, the SVM has now produced more than 1,900 veterinarians since the charter class graduated in 2003. Dr. Charles R. Modica, chancellor of SGU, congratulated and praised the new vets for pressing forward despite challenges presented by the COVID-19 pandemic.
“We are proud that the country of Grenada has been part of your lives for a few years,” said Dr. Modica. “With the pandemic having impacted all of us, you have shown that you have the resolve, fortitude, and dedication to complete your studies no matter what.”
– Ray-Donna Peters