More than 100 Western University of Health Sciences College of Veterinary Medicine students donned crisp new coats at CVM’s annual white coat ceremony at Chaffey High School in Ontario, California on Friday, Aug. 11, 2023.
Cries of joy and excitement echoed through the auditorium as the new veterinary students ended a week of orientation and began their veterinary education programs.
“You are entering a profession that will have a lot of opportunities available to you,” said Steve Monfort, DVM, PhD, Executive Director of the University of California Natural Reserve, who served as keynote speaker. While many students have some idea about the veterinary career they will pursue, he added, “Your assumptions will be challenged. Be open to detours. No two of you are going to be taking exactly the same route.”
CVM Interim Dean John Tegzes, MA, VMD, DABVT, set the stage for the ceremony, noting that the white coats students were about to don carried with them some special significance.
“You are being asked to provide compassionate and collaborative care to your patients, and to serve society by improving the life of animals,” he said.
The first-year CVM students appeared ready for the journey to begin.
CVM student Elizabeth Crown from Calabasas had designs on becoming a veterinarian from a very young age, and a high school environmental science class cemented her interest in veterinary medicine.
“Later I worked in a small animal shelter, where I had a case—a kitten that came in. The veterinarian allowed me to work somewhat independently to help the kitten,” she recalled. “By working through that case, and doing some of the work on my own, I became very interested in small animal medicine.”
Gabriella Aquino from Pomona grew up 10 minutes from campus. She is now looking forward to learning at her hometown veterinary college.
“It has been great getting to know everyone this week,” she said. “I seems like a relatively small class, so I feel like I’ll get to know everyone. It’ll be good to work together and collaborate.”
CVM student Elisabeth Aulner said during Welcome Week that the College provided a lot of information to students, which is helped her prepare for what’s to come.
“As I was trying on the white coat for the first time, it was very intimidating. There is a lot of responsibility that comes with it,” Aulner said. “I look forward to the experience.”