SGU Year in Review: A Look Back at the New Stories that Defined Us in 2019

2019 was a monumental year for students, faculty, and alumni of St. George’s University. SGU became the second-largest source of doctors for the entire US workforce. We placed 979 graduates into US and Canadian residencies—our highest number to date.

But that’s not all.

The School of Veterinary Medicine received full accreditation by the Royal College of Veterinary Surgeons (RCVS), and is now one of the few schools in the world that is accredited by the American Veterinary Medical Association in the United States and RCVS in the UK. The School of Arts and Sciences welcomed its first Caribbean national as dean.

SGU profiled many graduates who are making waves in human and animal healthcare industries—showcasing the diversity and reach of our global alumni—and how becoming a doctor (or veterinarian) has changed their lives and the lives of their patients.

These are the stories that underscore SGU’s strengths and define us as a University as we aim to enhance student success and grow the number of healthcare professionals around the world. Read on to see the top news stories of 2019 on SGU.edu.

Match Day 2019

On Match Day 2019, hundreds of SGU students secured first-year residency positions in the United States. Students matched into highly competitive positions in fields such as anesthesiology, child neurology, diagnostic radiology, emergency medicine, family medicine, internal medicine, internal medicine/emergency medicine, internal medicine/pediatrics, neurology, obstetrics and gynecology, pathology, pediatrics, physical medicine and rehabilitation, psychiatry, surgery, urology, vascular surgery. They joined residency programs in 42 US states and the District of Columbia over the summer.

In addition, SGU students and graduates obtained first-year residency positions through the Canadian Resident Matching Service (CaRMS).

Profound Impact: SGU Educated Second-Most Licensed Physicians in US In 2018

For more than 40 years, St. George’s University has provided highly qualified physicians to the United States, and never before has its impact been more evident. According to a report published in the Journal of Medical Regulation, SGU educated the second-most licensed physicians in the United States in 2018.

SGU Commencement 2019

In June, the School of Medicine’s newest class of physicians convened together one last time in New York City for SGU’s annual commencement ceremonies. Family and friends gathered at Lincoln Center to watch the graduates join an alumni network of more than 17,000 physicians who have gone on to practice in all 50 United States and in over 50 countries worldwide.

In addition, animals of all shapes and sizes gained caretakers and advocates when the SGU School of Veterinary Medicine granted Doctor of Veterinary Medicine degrees to 83 new veterinarians in New York City. New veterinarians joined an alumni network of 1,670 veterinarians who built a foundation for their careers at SGU.

In Grenada, graduates from 31 countries were among the 2019 class that included more than 230 students from the School of Arts and Sciences, and 110 from the School of Graduate Studies, with one PhD graduate in attendance.

DVM Program Gains Full Accreditation from Royal College of Veterinary Surgeons

Adding to its growing list of achievements, the St. George’s University’s School of Veterinary Medicine’s Doctor of Veterinary Medicine (DVM) program received full accreditation from the Royal College of Veterinary Surgeons (RCVS), the organization that sets the standards of veterinary care in the United Kingdom, through 2024.

Grenada-Born SGU Alum Returns Home to Care for His Nation’s Heart

As a practicing cardiologist, Diego Humphrey, MD ’84, a native Grenadian, serves the retired men and women of the US Armed Forces at the Jack C. Montgomery Veterans Affairs Medical Center in Muskogee, OK. Yet Dr. Humphrey, who never forgot his roots, returns each year to donate his time and expertise to the SGU-Physician Humanitarian Network.

Commonwealth Conference Focuses On Student Success

More than 350 educators from Grenada and around the world descended on SGU for the Council for Education in the Commonwealth (CEC) 2019 annual conference. The 2019 conference marked the first time that the CEC’s annual event had been held in the Caribbean region.

Mother’s Cancer Battle Motivates SGU Grad to Become Breast Surgeon

Joseph Di Como, MD '14

A doctor delivered the news—cancer, an aggressive form. Joseph Di Como’s mother, a cornerstone of the family, would have to undergo surgery and many months of treatment. Her struggle changed the course of his life forever. More than 15 years later, now a doctor, Joseph Di Como, MD ’14, is providing important care and instilling hope in patients as a breast surgical oncology fellow at Brown University, Women and Infants’ Hospital of Rhode Island.

Major Canadian Hospital Joins SGU’s Burgeoning Clinical Network

Adding to more than 70 clinical training locations across North America and the United Kingdom, St. George’s University finalized an agreement with Pembroke Regional Hospital in Ontario, Canada that will offer fourth-year students a range of disciplines to choose from for their clinical electives.

Eugene Becomes First Caribbean National to Lead SAS

As the new Dean of St. George’s University’s School of Arts and Sciences (SAS), Dr. Lucy Eugene is deeply committed to its growth. A native of Trinidad and Tobago, she is the first Caribbean national to become the school’s dean.

Equine Veterinarian Shares Path to Horse Country

When S. Heath Soignier, DVM ’12, CVMST, isn’t visiting his equine patients, one can usually find him practicing new holistic veterinary medicine techniques on his quarter horse, Margarita.

“To me horses and dogs are two of the best animals: if you trust them completely, they are most willing to reciprocate that trust. Not a lot of animals are like that,” Dr. Soignier said. “I love that I get to work with horses all day long.”

—Laurie Chartorynsky

Equine Veterinarian Shares Path to Horse Country

 

SGUSVM alumnus and equine practitioner Dr. Heath Soignier.

When S. Heath Soignier, DVM ’12, CVMST, isn’t visiting his equine patients, one can usually find him practicing new holistic veterinary medicine techniques on his quarter horse, Margarita.

“To me, horses and dogs are two of the best animals: if you trust them completely, they are most willing to reciprocate that trust. Not a lot of animals are like that,” Dr. Soignier said. “I love that I get to work with horses all day long.”

Growing up on a small farm in Bosco, LA, Dr. Soignier always had an affinity for animals, aspiring to be a mixed animal veterinarian. Yet his career path led him another way—and one nearly 700 miles from his hometown.

“During my third year at St. George’s University, I visited Lexington with some classmates,” he said. “You hear of the Kentucky Derby and how it’s the horse capital of the world, but it’s so different to experience it. My plans [after graduation] were to go back home and work in a mixed animal practice there, but I came here for a week and kind of fell in love with the place.”

Following graduation, Dr. Soignier accepted a one-year internship position at Rood and Riddle Equine Hospital in Lexington, KY and was offered to stay on after his internship was completed. Today he is an ambulatory associate at Rood and Riddle, which is a full-service equine hospital with satellite offices in Saratoga, NY and Wellington, FL. The hospital treats all different breeds of equine, including racehorses, quarter horses, mini-ponies, and donkeys.

“Our surgeons even treated a baby giraffe,” he said. “It’s not just thoroughbreds.”

As an ambulatory associate, much of Dr. Soignier’s time is spent on the road, visiting local farms. “Fall is a much slower time compared to the spring, which is foaling and breeding season for thoroughbreds. I handle a lot of reproductive cases, dentistry, even veterinary spinal manipulative therapy (chiropractic) for my patients,” he said. “It’s a bit more of a demanding schedule and it can be a bit stressful in that regard, but I love it.”

“Horses can’t tell you what hurts—it’s our job to figure that out,” he added. “You have to be patient, but horses can really teach you about life and themselves. It’s very rewarding.”

From equipment to improving procedure techniques, even incorporating holistic methods of healing, Dr. Soignier is always looking at ways to impact a horse’s life in a positive way. For example, “within our practice we have digital radiograph machines that can take X-rays in the field. They’re wireless, which allows easier maneuverability and to be able to do that in the field with high-quality images is especially helpful,” Dr. Soignier said.

When not seeing patients, Dr. Soignier enjoys spending time with his wife and fellow SGU graduate Catherine Hercula-Soignier, DVM ’12, and his two young daughters on their 10-acre farm in Georgetown, KY. He is also an avid sports enthusiast and outdoorsman.

“I think the best thing about St. George’s is your classmates become your family,” and in Dr. Soignier’s case quite literally. “I joke that I left Grenada with a degree, a wife, and three dogs.”

Dr. Soignier’s wife is chief of staff at Banfield Pet Hospital, a small animal cooperate practice. He loves that he can ask for her opinion on particularly challenging cases.

“If you had told me 10 years ago this is where I would be, I would say you were crazy,” he acknowledged. “But I worked hard to get where I am today. I wouldn’t trade it for anything.”

–Laurie Chartorynsky

SGU Diagnostics Vet Protects the Health of Food Animals

Katie Woodard, DVM ’14Raised in Houston, Texas, Katie Woodard, DVM ’14, grew up raising show pigs for Future Farmers of America (FFA). Not only was it a big part of her childhood, the experience later fueled her interest in swine medicine, and eventually spurred her on toward a career in veterinary medicine.

Today, Dr. Woodard resides in rural Iowa with her husband and three children, working as a veterinary specialist at the Iowa State University Veterinary Diagnostic Laboratory (ISU VDL). At one of the largest food animal diagnostic labs in the country, her job is to support food animal veterinarians in the field and provide quality service to the food animal agriculture industry.

“Growing up as I did, I never developed much interest in the small animal side of veterinary medicine,” said Dr. Woodard. “And I knew, even then, that I wanted to be involved in safeguarding the health of food animals, a role perhaps I was always destined for.”

Working at the VDL for the past five years, Dr. Woodard’s case load consists of about 85 percent swine—a reflection of the large swine industry located in Iowa and across the Midwest. On any given day, the diagnostics lab processes between 400 and 500 cases, making for a dynamic and ever-changing work environment. In her current role, she is responsible for all client outreach and education, where she assists her clients with disseminating information coming out of the lab, IT innovations, and retrieving diagnostic data from the lab.

“Our clients are veterinarians, and my job is all about making the diagnostic lab/client interaction as streamlined and straightforward as possible,” Dr. Woodard said. “My position helps to bridge that communication between lab and real life.”

Additionally, each summer she takes on a veterinary student intern to work on a project related to the lab and/or the swine industry. This could include anything from collecting samples in the field to developing better testing protocols or testing different swab types in the lab to make more informed recommendations to her clients in the field.

Continuing her tradition of educating future veterinarians, Dr. Woodard has also chosen to give back to her alma mater. Now, a visiting professor at SGU, she teaches the swine portion of the three-year veterinary students’ curriculum in the School of Veterinary Medicine. In addition, she has interviewed students applying to the veterinary school for several years.

“St. George’s University was actually the only veterinary school I applied to,” stated Dr. Woodard. “Having worked at the Louisiana State University School Of Veterinary Medicine as a technician for two years, I was already familiar with the traditional US model, and wanted to see what other options were out there for schooling. This, combined with my impatience to get started, led me to choose SGU since it offered rolling admissions, a much-needed change of scenery, and a more hands-on approach to learning.”

According to Dr. Woodard, she looks forward to continuing to play her part in the training of young veterinary students and considers it a privilege to be able to introduce them to the work of swine medicine and all the industry has to offer. With her future interests turning toward biosecurity and transportation and the impact those practices have on the health of food animals, she still maintains her commitment to the education of food-animal-oriented veterinary students.

–Ray-Donna Peters

SGU Veterinary Students Present Research at Parasitology Conference and Heartworm Symposium

 

SGU Veterinary Students Present Research at Parasitology Conference and Heartworm Symposium

St. George’s University School of Veterinary Medicine student Rebecca Howell has stayed the course. An animal aficionado from a young age, she shadowed a veterinarian in both middle school and high school, and later worked in a vet’s office.

Now in her sixth term at SGU, the aspiring veterinarian seized the opportunity to present her first poster at the 27th Conference of the World Association for the Advancement of Veterinary Parasitology (WAAVP) in Madison, WI. Her research titled, “Leptospira: Asymptomatic Carrier Status and Seroprevalence in Unvaccinated Canines Presented for Elective Sterilization to the St. George’s University School of Veterinary Medicine Junior Surgery and Anesthesia Lab” focused on spreading awareness of the zoonotic bacteria, which poses a serious public health concern since it can be transmitted from animals to humans, as well as encouraging exercising safe practices when cleaning up after pets, since the disease is spread through their urine.

“Attending my first-ever conference was a great experience,” Ms. Howell said. “In addition to connecting with fellow vet students and analyzing research from all over the world, I also learned about new technologies being used in the field today. For example, in Europe there’s an app that allows pet owners and veterinarians to report ticks, therefore it can help track the migration of ticks from one country to the next. This is something that is useful in animal adoption, especially from other countries, because when you adopt an animal, you adopt their diseases as well.”

Also representing SGU at her first international conference was fellow SVM fifth-term student Kathleen Kila. She presented her poster at the 16th Triennial Heartworm Symposium, in New Orleans. Titled, “Reducing ambiguity in canine heartworm disease classification” Ms. Kila’s research unveiled a new classification scheme for identifying heartworm disease in dogs.

“Attending the American Heartworm Society’s meeting was a big deal for me,” stated Ms. Kila. “Getting the chance to present our research on the international stage has been an invaluable experience. With this study, we hoped that by making the process of classifying the different stages of heartworm disease easier, it would remove much of the overlap between classifications that was found within the old system. Our goal was to improve the system by getting rid of that ambiguity thereby making it more objective when evaluating each clinical case of the disease.”

The research conducted by Ms. Howell and Ms. Kila both stemmed from their Veterinary Research Investigator class, a series of SVM core curriculum courses developed in order to enhance student exposure and involvement in research. Students from terms 1 through 4 were placed into small research groups and paired with a faculty mentor, together with whom they worked through each step of designing and implementing a small research project—tackling a different phase of research each term, including writing a manuscript and creating a poster.

“I think the opportunity for our students to conduct research is beneficial because it exposes them to research methodology,” said Dr. Tara Paterson, associate professor in the Department of Small Animal Medicine and Surgery. “Having the knowledge of how research is conducted allows them to gain a better understanding of evidence-based medicine, which is what we encourage throughout our curriculum so that our students learn to be more critical in their review of scientific work.

“For Rebecca and Kathleen, I believe allowing them the opportunity to present their work to the wider veterinary community at these conferences has not only boosted their self-confidence but has also helped to validate the work they’ve done during this series of courses.”

– Ray-Donna Peters 

St. George’s University to Host International Veterinary Simulation Conference

Aerial images of Sir Eric Gairy Hall and Andrew J. Belford Centre.

With increased emphasis on simulation at veterinary institutions around the world, the 7th International Veterinary Simulation in Teaching (InVeST) Conference, to be held May 1-3, 2020, at St. George’s University, will welcome researchers, developers, and educators to the island to explore and discuss techniques, technology, and its rapidly growing implementation.

Grenada will be the fifth country outside of the United States to host the conference, following South Africa, Germany, St. Kitts, and Canada.

“It is our pleasure to host the InVeST conference in 2020,” said Dr. Neil Olson, dean of SGU’s School of Veterinary Medicine. “Our university, an international center of excellence, is uniquely positioned to provide a meeting of high scientific quality and training in veterinary simulation. SGU is outfitted with the facilities and personnel to educate conference participants, while the scenic university also offers an atmosphere of relaxation as they earn continuing education credits.”

Participants will include veterinarians, educational institutions, InVeST members, and researchers, along with students and alumni from SGU’s School of Veterinary Medicine. The two-and-a-half-day conference to be held in the newly established Andrew J. Belford Centre will feature keynote addresses, poster presentations, workshops, a reception, and various social events.

“By creating a space for these experiences and ideas to come together, SGU will continue to drive progress in all areas of veterinary medicine.”

Dr. Neil Olson, SVM Dean

 

Presentation topics previously covered include; effective delivery of simulation with realism and teamwork; best practices in educational technology: from games to virtual reality; getting started with simulation research; and voice user interfaces and their potential role in veterinary education. By partaking in the conference, attendees are eligible to receive 10 RACE credits.

“By creating a space for these experiences and ideas to come together, SGU will continue to drive progress in all areas of veterinary medicine,” said Dr. Olson.

InVeST was established in August 2011 following a successful Veterinary Simulation Exchange symposium hosted by the College of Veterinary Medicine and Biomedical Sciences at Colorado State University in Fort Collins, CO. The group has grown exponentially through the Network of Veterinarians in Continuing Education (NOVICE) project, reconvening every 18 months for the InVeST conference.

“Ultimately, InVeST 2020 will provide an avenue for veterinary medical personnel to thrive and build on their professional knowledge while networking with peers,” said Dr. Olson. “The conference will enhance professional collaboration and camaraderie among veterinary experts, and we are excited to continue the growth of this group of innovators.

SGU’s DVM Program Gains Full Accreditation From Royal College Of Veterinary Surgeons

Adding to its growing list of achievements, the St. George’s University’s School of Veterinary Medicine’s Doctor of Veterinary Medicine (DVM) program has received full accreditation from the Royal College of Veterinary Surgeons (RCVS), the organization that sets the standards of veterinary care in the United Kingdom, through 2024.

As a result of the accreditation, SGU’s DVM graduates, who have also completed the Global Veterinary Health Track, will be eligible to register as members of the RCVS and practice in the UK without further examination. The School of Veterinary Medicine is now one of the few schools in the world to be accredited by both the American Veterinary Medical Association Council on Education (AVMA COE) in the United States and Canada, as well as the RCVS in the UK.

“The RCVS accreditation reaffirms SGU’s commitment to offering the highest-quality education and services to aspiring veterinary students,” said Dr. Neil Olson, dean of SGU’s School of Veterinary Medicine. “Our dual accreditation is a major feather in our cap for the future recruitment of the best and brightest students and faculty to our program from around the world.”

The RCVS is the veterinary regulatory body responsible for monitoring the educational, ethical, and clinical standards of practicing veterinarians in the UK and the Commonwealth of Nations. It evaluated the Doctor of Veterinary Medicine program on the following 12 accreditation standards:

  • Organization
  • Finances
  • Facilities and equipment
  • Animal resources
  • Information resources
  • Student caliber
  • Admission and progression criteria
  • Academic and support staff qualifications
  • Curriculum
  • Assessment policies, methods, standards, and quality assurance
  • Research programs, continuing and higher degree education, and
  • Outcomes assessment procedures

Dean Olson was notified of the RCVS accreditation in a September 13 letter and notified students of the achievement that afternoon. The RCVS had first visited SGU in 2017 and offered suggestions and recommendations. It was satisfied that improvements had been made during a recent follow-up visit to the school.

The accreditation builds on the School of Veterinary Medicine’s growing accolades. Last November, the AVMA renewed the SVM’s accreditation through 2025—the maximum seven-year term for accreditation. SGU’s SVM is one of 19 AVMA-accredited schools outside the US, and one of just two in the Caribbean. In addition, SGU’s Small Animal Clinic (SAC) was recently re-accredited by the American Animal Hospital Association (AAHA) through 2022, having earned the full three-year term for re-accreditation.

Now in its 20th year, the School of Veterinary Medicine has graduated nearly 1,700 students who have gone on to practice in 49 states in the United States and 16 other countries around the world. The School maintains partnerships with 31 universities and clinical facilities in the US, UK, Canada, Ireland, and Australia, where fourth-year students spend a year of clinical training at an affiliated veterinary school.

“To be fully accredited by the RCVS puts us right at the top in terms of the quality of training that we provide to our students looking to pursue a career in animal health care,” said Dr. Olson. “As we continue to expand and grow our successful veterinary program at SGU, we will look for further partnerships around the world.”

– Laurie Chartorynsky

Fall 2019 Veterinary Class Embarks on “Unique Odyssey”

Once a St. George’s University student herself, Deborah Coy, MD ’88, returned to Grenada 17 years later with the eldest of her three daughters, Danielle, now a first-term School of Veterinary Medicine student at SGU. The veterinarian-in-training joined her Class of 2023 brethren in August for the SVM White Coat Ceremony, marking their entry into the veterinary medical profession.

This fall marks the 20-year anniversary of the school opening its doors in True Blue. Dr. Coy marveled as the changes to campus, and cherished the opportunity to coat her daughter as she took the next step toward becoming a career in veterinary medicine.

“The changes to the campus since the last time I was here are so impressive. I love it,” enthused Dr. Coy, now a practicing pediatrician in Towaco, NJ. “I am so very proud that my daughter chose to attend SGU. I feel like she’s reliving what I did so many years ago.”

“In a way, I grew up here at SGU,” shared Danielle Macstudy. “My mom brought me back several times until I was about 4 or 5 years old. I’ve always known I wanted to work with animals, so from a young age I knew I wanted to become a veterinarian. Then I fell in love with SGU from hearing all of these wonderful stories from my mom.

“That’s why I wanted to come here just like she did.”

Also returning to SGU was alumnus and master of ceremonies Tatiana De Oliveira, DVM SGU ’12. She welcomed them to the veterinary medical profession, assuring them that opportunities were boundless but also reminding them, that regardless of which career path they took, they would now have the ability to make a huge impact on the lives of people and animals.

“Get to know your amazing faculty. They are your biggest supporters,” she encouraged. “Go explore this beautiful island, there’s so much to do, to see, and to learn. Remember to set goals for yourself, big and small. And finally stay focused and seek help when times get tough. Always remember why you started this journey in the first place and remember how inspired you are today.”

In his keynote address, Dr. Willie M. Reed, an internationally recognized expert in avian pathology, diagnostic medicine, and infectious diseases, also touted St. George’s University for providing an excellent foundation for more than 1,600 veterinarians since opening in 1999. He advised the students to set their goals one brick higher than they thought possible on the foundation that they would be given as veterinary students. He encouraged them to never stop pursuing their dreams, to always have more dreams than memories, and that dreams don’t end upon admission to veterinary school.

“You will be the leaders who must guide the veterinary profession as it expands its horizons in the 21st century,” stated Dr. Reed, dean of the College of Veterinary Medicine and Professor of Veterinary Anatomic Pathology at Purdue University. “The challenges will be significant, but rest assured the next four years will prepare you to assume this mantle of responsibility. I encourage you to take full advantage of the unique odyssey you are about to embark upon to fulfill the potential which each of you possesses.”

St. George’s University School of Veterinary Medicine recently earned full reaccreditation from the American Veterinary Medical Association’s Council on Education. This allows SGU graduates to seek licensure in the United States and Canada after passing the North American Veterinary Licensing Examination. It also allows US students to apply for federal loans and deferments through the William D. Ford Federal Direct Loan Program.

St. George’s University students spend their first three years in Grenada and complete their final year of study at an accredited affiliated school. The SVM has clinical partnerships with 29 other universities in the United States, United Kingdom, Canada, Ireland, Australia, and Grenada.

– Ray-Donna Peters

Summer Academy Provides Students With Insight Into Medical and Veterinary Medical Careers

In its 17th year, the St. George’s University Med/Vet Summer Leadership Academy continued to provide an insider’s view for college and high school students interested in exploring a career in medicine or veterinary medicine. This summer also marked the largest turnout since the program’s inception in 2002, with 133 aspiring physicians and veterinarians visiting the University’s True Blue campus in Grenada.

The high school student program ran for 10 days, while the Medical Leadership component of the college student program spanned 12 days. Qualified students are eligible for college credit through the School of Arts and Sciences.

“By coming here, students get the opportunity to decide for themselves whether or not this career choice is right for them,” said Avi Bahadoor-Yetman, director of the Med/Vet Summer Leadership Academy. “This experience will either reinforce their passion to practice medicine or veterinary medicine or help them decide this is not the professional path for them.”

Hailing from the United States, Canada, South Korea, Thailand, Philippines and more than 10 other countries, the students were taught through a series of lectures, small-group problem solving sessions, hands-on training, and practical lab work. This year’s lectures ranged from cardiology and neurology to musculoskeletal and gastroenterology, and each is followed by sessions in the anatomy lab during which students work with human and animal cadavers.

However, the program isn’t all work. The academics are balanced out by watersports such as sailing, waterskiing, and snorkeling, as well as hiking through Grenada’s rainforests and other activities that highlight the culture and beauty of the island.

Nonetheless, fatigue is built into program and no matter the schedule, the 15-hour days are by design.

“Attending medical school or veterinary school is both rigorous and exhausting in nature,” said Ms. Bahadoor-Yetman. “Hence the program is designed to create an authentic experience successfully balancing a challenging academic program with extracurricular activities. They get a taste of curriculum, SGU, and Grenada. In addition, the quality of the professors and the organization of the staff help make this an invaluable experience that enhances students’ knowledge in the field of medicine or veterinary medicine, while also offering a tremendous opportunity for personal growth and self-discovery.”

– Ray-Donna Peters

St. George’s University Grants Four Honorary Degrees, Service Awards During 2019 Commencement

St. George’s University honored a new class of medical school graduates from 38 countries and bestowed honorary doctorates and service awards on four individuals during its commencement ceremonies this past weekend.

“It is my pleasure to be here once again at one of these ceremonies to recognize your accomplishments,” said Dr. Charles Modica, Chancellor and Chair of the Board of Directors at St. George’s University, in his opening remarks.

Doctorates of Humane Letters were awarded to Dr. Mark Lanzieri, a Massachusetts cardiologist and 1985 St. George’s alumnus, and José Sánchez, President and CEO of Norwegian American Hospital in Chicago.

For 20 years, Dr. Lanzieri has returned to Grenada to provide cardiological care free of charge to Grenadians. He encouraged the Class of 2019 to stay connected to the St. George’s community. “We need your involvement more than ever,” he said. “I would encourage you that this is not your last interaction with SGU or Grenada, and that you become involved early with the alumni association.”

Dr. Sánchez has managed healthcare and hospital systems for more than three decades. He is a member of the Illinois State Board of Health and helps lead several other state boards, councils, and commissions.

Marty Lyons, a philanthropist and former defensive lineman for the New York Jets, and Congressman Max Rose received Distinguished Service Awards.

In 1982, Lyons founded the Marty Lyons Foundation, which has 11 chapters across the United States. The non-profit grants wishes for terminally ill children.

“Life is about making opportunities and choices,” Mr. Lyons said. “You’ve made one that started four years ago, when you started to chase a dream of helping other people, and making a difference in this world.”

Congressman Rose is a decorated war veteran who represents New York’s 11th congressional district, which includes Staten Island and South Brooklyn. Prior to his election to Congress, he was Chief of Staff for Brightpoint Health, a non-profit dedicated to meeting the healthcare needs of New York City’s underserved populations.

SGU Veterinarians Urged to “Shoot for the Moon” at Annual Commencement Ceremony

Animals of all shapes and sizes gained caretakers and advocates on Saturday morning as St. George’s University School of Veterinary Medicine granted Doctor of Veterinary Medicine degrees to 83 new veterinarians in New York City.

By reaching this milestone, the Class of 2019 joins an alumni network of 1,670 veterinarians who built a foundation for their careers at SGU.

“One of the greatest honors I have each year is to be here at this ceremony honoring you, respecting you, and with family and friends in the room who have helped you get to where you are today, to tell you how proud we are of you,” said Dr. Charles Modica, chancellor of St. George’s University.

This year’s graduates hailed from six countries—the United States, Canada, Chile, Mexico, Peru, and Trinidad and Tobago. Many new alums will go straight into practice while others have committed to residency programs across 22 United States in such fields ranging from small animal medicine and neurology to oncology and food animal ambulatory and production medicine.

Dr. Richard Liebowitz, vice chancellor of St. George’s University, noted that this year marked the 20-year anniversary of SGU’s School of Veterinary Medicine.

“Our graduates are recognized in the US, Caribbean, and around the world, and now you leave the university with the same clinical abilities as they did,” Dr. Liebowitz said. “The question is ‘where do you go from here?’ With the training you have received, my only advice is to follow your passion, put no barriers in front of you, and shoot for the moon. I congratulate you all. I know you all will be extremely satisfied and successful in your careers.”

St. George's University School of Veterinary Medicine Commencement

Join us live as we celebrate St. George’s University’s School of Veterinary Medicine Class of 2019!

Posted by St. George's University on Saturday, June 1, 2019

One of those charter class members was Tara Paterson, DVM ’03, who has gone on to become an associate professor of small animal medicine and surgery at her alma mater, while also serving as president of the School of Veterinary Medicine Alumni Association.

“On behalf of SGU faculty, I want you to know that we are very proud of you all,” Dr. Paterson said. “I’m honored to welcome you to our fraternity of SGU alumni, and I’m proud to call you my colleagues.”

St. George’s University Provost Glen Jacobs emceed the ceremony, and implored the newest SGU alumni to pursue knowledge and training throughout their careers.

“This ceremony is a symbol of our confidence that you are now equipped for the world in which you are entering,” Dr. Jacobs said. “You are equipped with the basic skills necessary for your profession. You must continue learning to keep learning in order to keep pace with the changing world around us.”