PASADENA, Calif. – May 16, 2007 -The College of Veterinary Medicine (CVM)
at Western University of Health Sciences awarded 81 Doctor of Veterinary
Medicine (DVM) degrees to the members of its charter class during a
commencement ceremony May 11 at the Pasadena Civic Auditorium.
Award-winning actress Betty White, best-known for her role as Rose
Lindstrom Nylund in the popular 1980s NBC-TV sitcom, The Golden Girls,
was the keynote speaker.
White was also awarded an honorary Doctor of
Humane Veterinary Sciences degree in recognition of her decades of work
to promote animal welfare with the Morris Animal Foundation and the Los
“”We are very fortunate to have had Betty White as a spokesperson and an
active board member for Morris Animal Foundation for nearly 40 years,””
said Patricia Olson, DVM, Ph.D., president and CEO of the Englewood,
Colorado-based Morris Animal Foundation.
“”She is passionate about all animals and her dedication to improving animal health through humane research is commendable,”” Olson said. “”Because of Betty’s work to advance animal health and welfare worldwide, veterinarians have better diagnostic tests and treatments. She is truly deserving of this honorary veterinary degree from Western University.””
White’s commencement address was a significant part of a landmark event
that was a celebration of a journey that began for the College of
Veterinary Medicine nearly a decade ago.
In August 2003, the CVM admitted its charter class, making the college
the 28th veterinary medicine program in the United States, the second in
California and the first of its kind in Southern California.
It was the first veterinary college to open in the nation in more than 20 years, and the first founded by a woman, Dean Shirley Johnston.
Even more remarkable is the impressive number of internships (26) awarded
to the students upon completing their studies. Their future plans will
send them to internships across the U.S. including California, Florida,
Michigan and New York. Many of the internships include residencies in
laboratory animal medicine at the University of Michigan and UCLA.
The college uses small group, problem-based learning to promote
development of lifelong learning, communications and teamwork skills in
its students. Because of its ‘reverence for life,’ the college does not
kill or harm animals in its educational programs.
In addition, anatomy cadavers are acquired through
a willed body program, and students master clinical skills such as
surgery on a variety of models before applying them to living animals.
The curriculum also champions strategic alliances with public and private
veterinary institutions in its educational programs, providing student-
learning experiences world-wide.
“”Western University is very proud to contribute to a growing national
need for veterinarians,”” Dean Johnston said. “”Our graduates have accepted
positions in practices, internships and residencies to provide care for
pets, horses, food animals and laboratory animals. I am confident that
they will serve society with excellence as advocates and champions for
animals throughout their careers.””
Many of the new graduates have been employed by practices that are
rotation sites for the CVM and serve collectively as the
College’s “”teaching hospital.””
In August 2007, when current third- and fourth-year students begin their
clinical rotations, a significant number of them will find CVM alumni as
their new mentors. That’s important because the mentors will be very
familiar with the model of teaching that the College has employed.
“”The graduates’ actions will prove that the vision of those who worked to
establish the college was on the mark,”” Johnston said.