The Bourne Lecture Hall was filled with excitement as St. George’s University School of Veterinary Medicine (SGUSVM) largest incoming veterinary class was officially welcomed at its Fall 2012 White Coat Ceremony on Tuesday, August 21st.
Addressing the 105 students was Keynote Speaker, Dr. Jan K. Strother, DVM, who delivered an entertaining, illustrative and engaging address to the incoming class. Taking the podium she articulated, “This is a transcending night – a celebratory night, and as I look out at all of your faces, you are going to change from the person you are, into a doctor of veterinary medicine – and St. George’s University will provide the tools to do just that.”
Dr. Strother used a delightful story of the development of an unusual relationship between her and a bird to elucidate the amazing bond that develops between animals and humans and also to show that animals grow and learn within a relationship. Strother challenged the students to keep their minds open to the forty-two areas of specialty in their chosen profession. She stated, “This is a global school and there are many global opportunities for you. We need new creative energy in our veterinary profession; we need your technology, your ideas and for you to figure out how you’re going to help keep the world healthy. Whatever you choose, I hope that you remember where you came from and that SGU installed integrity, compassion, dignity, tenacity and the desire to be the very best that you can be.”
In her address, the students were left with this powerful resonation by Dr. Jan. K. Strother: “This night is yours, it’s a celebration and it’s an acclamation. This night is the beginning of your life’s journey as a Doctor of Veterinary Medicine. Success is the courage and the confidence to begin, it’s the passion and the persistence to continue, it’s the talent and the tenacity to finish, it’s the road you choose, the meanings you make, the mountains you move, and the example you set. In the end, you don’t just celebrate what you do, but you celebrate who you are. Tonight you are future doctors of veterinary medicine.”
Chancellor, Dr. Charles Modica in his remarks assured the students of the University’s capability and commitment to success. He stated, “You’re coming into a school that has the accreditation necessary to fulfill your dreams. You have a very dedicated faculty who is very interested in your development, your well being, and who cares about you. Dr. Modica further remarked: “Interacting with persons of different culture and creeds from around the world adds an international flavor to your education that makes your experience more meaningful.”
Corroborating these remarks, Dr. Raymond Sis, Dean of the School of Veterinary Medicine further expressed: “St. George’s University is a dynamic and exciting international University which provides a unique environment for the study of modern global veterinary medicine.”
The ultimate purpose of the evening proceedings culminated with the robing of each student in their white coats – the symbol of the profession, and the recitation of the Oath of Professional Commitment. A lighter moment followed as the students ended the ceremony with a slide show of their team-building exercises during the two-day leadership Professional Attributes Workshop.
About Dr. Jan K. Strother
Dr. Jan K. Strother, DVM, received her doctorate of veterinary medicine from Tuskegee University College of Veterinary Medicine in 1986. After graduation, she opened the North Alabama Cat and Bird Veterinary Clinic in Hartselle, Alabama, in June of 1987.
Dr. Strother opened and operated a second clinic in Huntsville, Alabama, from 1991-1996, and in 1999 had a new clinic constructed in Hartselle, and moved her practice into the new facilities in 2000. Currently she is the founder and hospital director of a four-doctor clinic where she cares for companion animals, birds, and a wide variety of exotic pets.
Since graduating, numerous leadership positions were held with the Alabama Veterinary Medical Association (ALVMA) and the American Veterinary Medical Association (AVMA). Dr Jan K. Strother was the president of ALVMA from 1997-1998, and also chair of the ALVMA Public Relations Committee from 1989-1997. Currently she serves as the chair of the ALVMA Human/Animal Bond Committee, and Vice-President of the American Veterinary Medical Association (AVMA).
Dr. Strother has been a member of the AVMA since 1986 and served in the House of Delegates (HOD) as an Alternate Delegate from Alabama. She was also elected to the Council on Public Relations in 1994 serving a six-year term, and was the Chair of this committee in 1999.
Dr. Jan K. Strother is a member of various veterinary associations throughout the United States and the recipient of numerous awards including: ALVMA Veterinarian of the Year in 2002, ALVMA Service Award in 1991 and 1993, and the ALVMA Auxiliary Service Award in 1993.
As a passionate veterinarian, Dr. Strother is a frequent speaker on veterinary health care topics and has been a guest on Good Morning America, The Today Show, FOX Pet News, and many other radio and television shows.
Apart from being a veterinarian, Dr. Strother is also married to a veterinarian, Dr. Michael Newman, and resides on a small farm with nine cats, two dogs, two horses, and a donkey named Milton.