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White Coated and Ready for Rotations
Third-year Cummings School students earn white coats at annual ceremony
March 21, 2022
The Class of 2023 received its white coats on March 18, 2022. Photo: Paul Rutherford for Tufts University

One hundred one third-year students at Tufts University’s Cummings School of Veterinary Medicine received their white coats at a ceremony held at Worcester Technical High School on Friday, March 18, 2022. It marked the first time since 2019 that this event was held in person and attended by family, friends and Cummings School faculty members and staff.

Celebrated annually since 2005, the ceremony recognizes the students’ completion of three years of education and rewards them with their white coats prior to embarking on clinical rotations in their final year pursuing a Doctor of Veterinary Medicine(DVM) degree.

For the second consecutive year, the students were supported by the White Coat Sponsorship program, where generous alumni sponsor a student’s first white coat through a gift of $50 or more and a short note of advice, encouragement or well-wishes—each is tucked in the pocket of a student’s coat.

Cummings School Dean Alastair Cribb, DVM, PhD, FCAHS, Henry and Lois Foster Professor, served as emcee and recognized the significance of the students’ achievement. “You have shown resilience, commitment, flexibility, and patience … We thank you for working with us as we have navigated the COVID-19 pandemic and kept together as a community,” he affirmed.

Tufts University President Anthony Monaco, PhD, acknowledged the students’ educational transition. “Today’s ceremony marks the end of one phase of your education and the beginning of another,” he explained.  “You will now prepare to take what you’ve learned in your didactic training and apply it holistically.”

Monica Mansfield, DVM, president-elect of the Massachusetts Veterinary Medical Association (MVMA), reminded the students to be patient, to bring their thinking caps to work, to follow their own unique calling and to seek support when needed. “When it was hard throughout vet school you persevered and you will do so in the future,” she assured them. “There is nothing more important than your well-being and there are always resources and loving help around you.”

Clinical Associate Professor and Veterinary Radiologist Amy Sato, DVM, BS, DAVVR, spoke on behalf of the Cummings School faculty members and offered some advice. “By sharing your knowledge in your areas of strength and being secure enough to ask for help in your areas of weakness, everyone benefits, especially your patients,” she reasoned.

Student speaker Lauren Gawel V22 welcomed the members of the Class of 2023 into the clinics. “Look at each day as a fresh opportunity to learn something new about veterinary medicine or about yourself and hold on to the excitement of learning and of helping animals. You will be helping to save and improve lives every day,” she asserted.

Samantha Davern, DVM candidate, Class of 2023, is hooded by Dr. Francisco Conrado.

Samantha Davern, DVM candidate, Class of 2023, is coated by Dr. Francisco Conrado. Photo: Paul Rutherford for Tufts University

Assistant Professor, Veterinary Clinical Pathology Francisco Conrado, DVM, MSc, DACVP, and Assistant Professor, Internal Medicine (Small Animal)/Clinical Pharmacology Claire Fellman, PhD, DVM, DACVIM (SAIM), DACVCP, presented the coats while Assistant Professor, Cardiology Emily Karlin, DVM, BA, DACVIM V08, led the students to collectively recite the veterinary student oath, authored by members of the Class of 2005 for the first Tufts White Coat Ceremony:

It is with great honor that we accept our white coats on this special day.
It is with strength and humility that we shoulder all the responsibility they represent.
We pledge to use them not as a shield, but a gesture of comfort and hope for those entrusted to our care.
From this day forward we will strive to promote lasting alliances in health, maintain professional integrity and provide compassionate care for all in need.

During the 15 months of clinical rotations, fourth-year students gain experience working in Cummings School’s Foster Hospital for Small Animals and Hospital for Large Animals, Tufts Wildlife Clinic, the Luke and Lily Lerner Spay/Neuter Clinic, Tufts Veterinary Field Service (located in Woodstock, Connecticut), and Tufts at Tech Community Veterinary Clinic< (located at Worcester Technical High School, Worcester, Massachusetts).

This year, Cummings School will celebrate the 10th anniversary of founding Tufts at Tech, where Cummings School students experience clinical training under the guidance of veterinarians and faculty members and Worcester Tech students gain exposure to veterinary practice. Tufts at Tech provides low-cost veterinary care for family pets within Central Massachusetts’ underserved communities.