Dear friends and colleagues,
Holiday greetings from Blacksburg. As the year ends, it's time to reflect on some of the advances we experienced in 2010 that continued the progressive nature of the Virginia-Maryland Regional College of Veterinary Medicine. A landmark year of preparing the next generation of veterinarians, researchers, and public health practitioners has concluded here as well as at our equine medical center in Leesburg, Va., at our Center for Public and Corporate Veterinary Medicine in College Park, Md., and in our projects and partnerships around the globe. As we make our way down snowy mountain roads to join family and friends by crackling fireplaces, we take pause and thank the students, alumni, faculty, staff, patients, and stakeholders who have made 2010 a historical success, even in the face of budget cuts.
We began 2010 with the introduction of a new interview format for admissions to the college's DVM program. Multiple Mini Interviews (MMI) were adapted to assess non-cognitive skills that were identified as important for students to possess in order for them to be successful during the program and after graduation. Throughout the year, we remained very involved with the North American Veterinary Medical Education Consortium, or NAVMEC, a consortium of veterinary colleges and stakeholders working to determine how veterinary medical education can meet the needs of society.
This year, we launched our new Master of Public Health (MPH) program, which is administered in collaboration with the Virginia Tech Carilion School of Medicine and resides in the new Department of Population Health Sciences. We are proud to have welcomed our inaugural class to the program this fall. We are also proud to have finalized the plans and selected a contractor for our new Veterinary Medicine Instruction Addition and to have begun construction on the Infectious Disease Research Facility. Our college is engaged in a wide range of scientific and medical research that will benefit both animals and humans in studies that range from brain conditions to lupus and from regenerative medicine to vaccine development.
Throughout the year, I heard the many amazing stories that the VMRCVM alumni have shared with me about their time at the college and in their current professional lives. Our alumni work in private practice and corporate medicine, for government agencies, in research laboratories and academia, on farms, in clinics, and even in the halls of Congress. They will always be united by their time spent at the college. We are proud of their accomplishments and look forward to their continued support in helping future students.
In closing, I offer a simple New Year's resolution for each of you. Ask yourselves: “What can I do for the college this year?” Whether it's contributing your time or financial donations on behalf of the college's goals, convincing a potential student to submit an admissions application, or even just joining the college Facebook page, I challenge you all to become more engaged in 2011 and to expand your involvement with VMRCVM's commitment to excellence.
Wishing you a warm holiday season,
Gerhardt G. Schurig, DVM, Ph.D.