St. George’s University School of Veterinary Medicine formally welcomed aspiring veterinarians from its August 2021 and January 2022 incoming classes into the veterinary medical profession at its virtual White Coat Ceremonies held on March 19-20, 2022.
“The symbolism of putting on the white coat is that you carry now the responsibility of being an [animal] healthcare professional,” said SGU President Dr. G. Richard Olds in his prepared remarks. “You must be thoughtful, caring, and sympathetic in all of your interactions with your clients and individuals that you work with throughout your veterinary medical career.” He praised the veterinarians-in-training for beginning their journey to join more than 2,100 School of Veterinary Medicine graduates.
The White Coat Ceremony has become an important ritual symbolizing a student’s induction into the veterinary profession. At the beginning of each new term, students are cloaked in a white coat—sometimes by family members or mentors who have become veterinarians before them—and then affirm an oath of commitment to the profession by agreeing to uphold its highest ethical and professional standards. SGU embraced the White Coat Ceremony in 2001.
Serving as this year’s keynote speaker, Dr. Calvin Johnson, dean of the College of Veterinary Medicine at Auburn University and past president of the American Association of Veterinary Medical Colleges applauded the veterinary medical students for choosing SGU in hopes of one day adding to the University’s legacy of graduating top-notch veterinarians into the global healthcare system through its Doctor of Veterinary Medicine (DVM) program.
“The white coat as you know now is far more than a garment,” Dr. Johnson said. “It symbolizes a milestone that you’ve reached in your journey from being an interested observer in veterinary medicine to being a fully immersed member of the veterinary medical community. Pursue your education with tremendous energy and enthusiasm. Your time has come and your prospects for professional success and personal fulfillment are unlimited.”
SVM dean Dr. Neil C. Olson also congratulated the Class of 2026 on taking the first step in realizing their dreams of becoming veterinarians. He added that he looked forward to congratulating the new students on their graduation day and working with them as future alumni, as they navigate through the challenges and opportunities that may surface as they work towards their DVM degree.
“The experiences you will have at St. George’s University will serve to enrich you, personally and professionally,” Dr. Olson said. “You have all worked diligently to become veterinary medical students, and I wish you every success as you strive to excel in the pursuit of the knowledge, skills, and attributes necessary for your career.”
– Ray-Donna Peters