College welcomes new students in veterinary, graduate programs

DVM Class of 2021 group photo
The college's week-long DVM program orientation was capped by a “white coat ceremony” at the Inn at Virginia Tech on Friday, Aug. 25, where 128 new veterinary students received their official white coats. Photo by Brooke Nelson. View ceremony photos.

The Virginia-Maryland College of Veterinary Medicine welcomed new students in its Doctor of Veterinary Medicine (DVM), Master of Public Health (MPH), and Biomedical and Veterinary Sciences (BMVS) M.S. and Ph.D. programs this month.

The 128 new students in the DVM Class of 2021 participated in a week-long orientation capped by a “white coat” ceremony” at the Inn at Virginia Tech on Friday, Aug. 25. The incoming class arrived in Blacksburg after making it through a highly competitive application period as the second cohort of students in the veterinary college’s new doctor of veterinary medicine curriculum. (View photos from the white coat ceremony.)

Cyril Clarke, dean of the veterinary college, spoke directly to students during the ceremony about the white coat’s significance as a symbol of professionalism and the science-based nature of veterinary medicine. He also emphasized that the incoming students have been afforded a rare opportunity to become veterinarians. More than 1,600 prospective students applied for admissions in the Class of 2021, the second largest applicant pool in North America, according to figures from the Association of American Veterinary Medical Colleges.

The veterinary college was one of the first U.S. veterinary schools to hold a white coat ceremony. During the event, students also received a stethoscope to mark their transition into the profession and were welcomed by representatives from the Virginia and Maryland veterinary medical associations.

MPH student group photo
The college welcomed new Master of Public Health graduate students during orientation held at the college on Friday, Aug. 25.

Earlier in the week, first-year students completed orientation activities designed to produce well-rounded and professional veterinary students. In addition to lectures, tours, and presentations at the college, students visited the Alta Mons campground in Shawsville, Virginia, for a day of team-building exercises designed to boost their leadership, self-confidence, and communication skills.

The Class of 2021 includes 85 Virginia and Maryland residents and 43 out-of-state students who arrived with a 3.4 average cumulative grade point average. Outside of Virginia and Maryland, they represent 14 states, plus France and Brazil.

Meanwhile, the college also hosted orientation activities for graduate students. The BMVS program, which prepares students to be scholars and researchers who will benefit animal and human health by advancing veterinary and biomedical knowledge, welcomed 12 new students at its orientation on Thursday, Aug. 24 at the veterinary college. Of these, three are Ph.D. students, including one dual degree DVM/Ph.D. student, and nine are master’s degree students, including eight residents.

The MPH program also began a new academic year with an orientation for 44 incoming students on Friday, Aug. 25. Orientation activities included an opening reception, a welcome from Dean Cyril Clarke and MPH program leaders, and small group sessions for students to learn about the program curriculum, graduate student life, and resources available to them. Students have the option to pursue a concentration in infectious diseases or public health education.

MS and PhD student group photo
The college welcomed new Biomedical and Veterinary Sciences M.S. and Ph.D. students during orientation held at the college on Thursday, Aug. 24.