Sophomores get new white coats at ceremony
By Sarah Carey
Members of the UF College of Veterinary Medicine’s Class of 2015 received words of wisdom and encouragement from fellow students, administrators and the president of the Florida Veterinary Medical Association during the sophomore professional coating ceremony held May 10 at the UF Phillips Center for the Performing Arts.
With several scholarships also awarded to class members, there were plenty of congratulations to go around.
The ceremony marks the sophomore students’ completion of the first two years of veterinary school, and their transition into clinical rotations as juniors. This year’s event was the last to be presided over by the college’s dean, Dr. Glen Hoffsis, who also was honored as the Florida Veterinary Medical Association’s “Champion of Veterinary Medicine.”
The designation honors a key member or supporter of the association for contributions to FVMA and to the association. The group gives six scholarships each year, including two Champion of Veterinary Medicine awards that were presented during the ceremony to sophomores Kali Standorf and Geoff Landau.
An avid history buff, Hoffsis offered a “pearl” from Benjamin Franklin.
“He said mankind consists of three types of people; people who are immoveable, people who are moveable, and people who move,” Hoffsis said. “My advice to you is, don’t be immoveable.”
Senior class president Samantha Haas told the sophomores, “There are always defining moments in one’s life, and this is one of those.”
“You’re probably thinking, there’s no way you know enough to get through clinics…and you’re absolutely right,” she said. “But you’ll be amazed how much you’ll learn.”
She told the students, “Be nice, make friends with the technicians and do not be afraid to be wrong.”
“Learn how to be a team player and leave your selfishness at home,” Haas said.
The keynote address was delivered by Dr. Don Morgan, president of the Florida Veterinary Medical Association and owner of Bluff Animal Hospital in Bellair Bluffs, Fla. He talked about what veterinary medicine as a profession was like 50 years ago, what it’s like now and what it will be like in the future.
“It used to be, you’d have a new stethoscope, maybe a new microscope, a glass syringe and old steel needles, since we didn’t have disposable syringes back then,” he said. “Now we have MRI, endoscopy, lasers, and a vaccine for about every disease out there,” Morgan said. “It’s impossible to know where we’ll be 50 years from now.”
He stressed the importance of maintaining a professional appearance in the workplace and and said students should “never pre-judge the client…how much money they have, or what their needs are.
“When the time comes for difficult decisions to be made regarding a pet, clients should be a part of these key discussions,” Morgan said, adding that students should not be afraid to refer cases to a specialist when they enter practice.
“That lets the client know you have the pet’s need at heart,” Morgan said.
Community involvement through church or organizations such as PTA or children’s sports leagues is a way of cultivating relationships and gaining trust that can lead to clients, he said.
“Professionalism outside of the office is what brings people into the office,” he said, also emphasizing the importance of getting involved in organized veterinary medicine and staying abreast of issues affecting the profession.
“Tomorrow’s future in veterinary medicine will be yours to define,” Morgan said. “Good luck and Godspeed ahead.”
In addition to the Champion of Veterinary Medicine scholarships, several other scholarships were presented. The awards and their recipients included:
- Dr. Kevin Anderson Team VetMed Scholarship: Jessica Larson, Megan Petroff, Lauren Streifel
- College of Veterinary Medicine Board of Directors Scholarship: Jeanne Thompson and Andrew Torchia
- Lakeland Winter Haven Kennel Club: Steven November
- Pet Memorial Scholarship: Liz Greco, Mandy Stiles and Brooke Maid
- UF Sophomore Pathology Scholarship: Craig McShaffry
- Veterinary Learning Award: Cleon Hendrix
More photos from the college’s coating ceremony are available on Facebook here.