College Celebrates Class of 2014 Commencement

Ninety-five new doctors of veterinary medicine have finished their professional training at the Virginia-Maryland College of Veterinary Medicine. The college held a commencement ceremony for the Class of 2014 in the Commonwealth Ballroom of Squires Student Center on Friday, May 16.

Earlier in the day, Virginia Tech recognized the veterinary students at the university commencement ceremony in Lane Stadium. Then, the Graduate School awarded advanced degrees to 27 of the college’s Master of Public Health and five Master of Sciences students at a separate ceremony in Cassell Coliseum.

Graduates taking oath

The 95 new veterinarians take the Veterinarian’s Oath.

Dr. Cyril Clarke, who assumed the role of dean last fall, spoke at his first college commencement ceremony. He explained that although he had not been with the college for much of the Class of 2014’s professional training, he had full confidence they were graduating from a first-rate DVM program with knowledge of cross-species medicine and practical, clinical experience.

He joked, “I am also confident that in the few weeks between the day you graduate and the day you enter your first practice, you will go from thinking you know everything to thinking you know nothing. But rest assured, we all felt that way.”

The senior class selected Dr. Gregory Troy, the Dr. and Mrs. Dorsey Taylor Mahin Endowed Professor of Internal Medicine, to be the keynote speaker at the college ceremony. Troy, a faculty member in the Department of Small Animal Clinical Sciences, drew parallels between the diagnostic method he taught students in the classroom and the solution to real-life problems they would face after graduation.

MPH graduates

The Graduate School awarded 27 advanced degrees to our MPH students.

“Each of you has shown discipline and determination in veterinary school,” he said. “If you are to continue your lifelong obligation to be the best veterinarian that you can be, you will need to continue that discipline.”

Troy added, “Each of you has shown a positive attitude about your future, but now you will need to show that positive attitude to your clients, patients, profession, and community.”

Following these words of wisdom, the dean presented two special awards. Dr. Casey Burke, the Class of 2014 valedictorian, received the Richard B. Talbot Award. Burke, of Luray, Va., earned high academic marks during her four years at the veterinary college and follows in the footsteps of her brother Dr. Nathaniel Burke, who was the Class of 2011 valedictorian.

Dr. Melinda McCall and Dean Cyril Clarke

Dr. Melinda McCall, associate veterinarian at Louisa Veterinary Service, received the Outstanding Recent Alumna Award from Dean Cyril Clarke.

Dr. Melinda McCall of Louisa, Va. (DVM ’04) received the Outstanding Recent Alumna Award. Former president of the college’s Food Animal Club, McCall is an associate veterinarian at Louisa Veterinary Service. She is active in promoting agriculture in her community and works closely with 4-H and young farmer groups in the area. McCall, who is on the board of directors of the Virginia Veterinary Medical Association and president of the Virginia Academy of Food Practitioners, was described as an “outstanding ambassador for the college.”

Dr. Jan Ginsky, president of the Maryland Veterinary Medical Association, administered the Veterinarian’s Oath, which the new graduates recited. Dr. Jeff Newman, president of the Virginia Veterinary Medical Association, welcomed the graduates into the profession before Dr. Patricia Brown, president of the Class of 2014, presented highlights from the past four years as well as a class gift of $1,000 to the college’s Working Dog Fund, which assists canine working units at local police departments. The college also recognized Dr. Bryn Hoffman and Dr. Caitlin O’Shea, two clinical residents who completed their residency and master’s degree requirements.

Prior to the ceremony, the college hosted a reception in its renovated commons area for the graduates to mingle with family, faculty, staff, and special guests. Master of Public Health students also had a reception in Sandy Hall following the Graduate School commencement.

View photos from this year’s commencement:

Written by Michael Sutphin and Sherrie Whaley.

[Left] Professor of internal medicine, Dr. Gregory Troy, was selected by the senior class as commencement keynote speaker. [Right] Dr. Casey Burke of Luray, Va., was named the DVM Class of 2014 valedictorian.