Professional coating ceremony held for Class of 2016

Brad Southwell, right, and friend.

Michelle Poole and Brad Southwell, both from the Class of ’16. (Photo by Sarah Carey)

Members of the UF College of Veterinary Medicine’s Class of 2016 received new white coats symbolizing the transition into clinical rotations during the college’s 2014 professional coating ceremony, held May 9 at the Phillips Center for the Performing Arts.

The packed house included friends and family members of the students, along with many faculty and staff members of the college and professional mentors who assisted in presenting the coats, each embroidered with the students’ name and class year,  during the two-hour occasion that also included the presentation of several sophomore scholarship awards.

April Conforti and Ari Flink, both members of the Class of ’16, provided a moving rendition of the national anthem at the start of the ceremony. Dean James W. Lloyd welcomed attendees.

“The professional coating ceremony marks an important transition for our sophomore students as they move from their pre-clinical classroom and laboratory training and undertake the initial phase of their clinical training in our large and small animal hospitals and other clinical settings,” Lloyd said. “Students embrace this event with a sense of great pride over their personal accomplishments and great anticipation of their future professional interactions with clients and patients.”

Student and her coater.

Kaylee McMahan, ’16, and her coater, Dr. Ross Valdez.(Photo by Sarah Carey)

Remarks to the class were also given by Mark Belyeu, president of the Class of 2014, and the presentation of the professional coats was led by Dr. Pam Ginn, associate dean for students and instruction.

Dr. Richard Carpenter, owner of the Animal Clinic at Kelly Crossing in Fort Myers, president-elect of the Florida Veterinary Medical Association and longtime supporter of the college, delivered the class address, urging students to become involved in organized veterinary medicine and always to keep an open mind.

“You never know where this profession is going to lead you,” he said. “What I’ve found out is that you may wind up in a direction you never thought of.”

 But no matter where the students wind up, dealing with people will be a constant in their lives, Carpenter added.

“You must present yourself as the professional you are,” he said. “Even now, at this point, you are better prepared for life and veterinary medicine than most people. Your dedication and your studies already elevate you in our society.”

Carpenter told the students it was their challenge, as it is his on an ongoing basis, to “keep up with things” as the practice of veterinary medicine is constantly changing.

Dr. Farina with student coatee

Jillian Schrier, ’16, with her coater, Dr. Lisa Farina. (Photo by Sarah Carey)

“Things will be very different in the future,” he said. “But you will have great resources. You will never stop learning.”

And most importantly, Carpenter told the students, “On a regular basis, stop and smell the roses.”

Following his address, Carpenter made the FVMA’s scholarship presentation. As background, Carpenter relayed that the FVMA established a scholarship fund 14 years ago to recognize outstanding freshman, sophomore and junior students at the college.

“Each year, we honor these exceptional students for their leadership, communications skills and academic achievements, in tribute to a ‘Champion of Veterinary Medicine,’ a member of the FVMA who has made significant contributions to the profession that you are about to enter,” he said. He then introduced the FVMA’s 2014 Champion of Veterinary Medicine, Dr. Richard Wilkes of St. Petersburg.

Wilkes has been involved in the veterinary profession for more than 30 years. He has served as president of the Pinellas County Veterinary Medical Society, the Pinellas Animal Foundation and the FVMA, and has served on numerous FVMA committees. Over the span of his career, Wilkes has owned and practiced in multiple veterinary hospitals and today serves as president of Purchasing Services, Inc., a company that provides buying services to independent veterinarians across the southeastern United States.

Receiving FVMA Champion of Veterinary  Medicine scholarships, in the amount of $1,500 each, from the Class of ’16 were Brittany Martabano and Cameron Biggs.

Several other scholarship awards were presented to members of the class during the ceremony.

The awards and their recipients included:

  • Dr. Kevin Anderson Team Vet Med Scholarship- Stella Blum, Lucas McClain, Jamie Nenezian
  • College of Veterinary Medicine Board of Directors Scholarships- Brittany Martabano, Cameron Biggs and Kristi Rhodes
  • UF Sophomore Pathology Award- Justin Stillwell
  • Lakeland Winter Haven Kennel Club- Maggie Ewald
  • Pet Memorial Scholarships- Kelly Frye, Krista Seraydar, Bianca Miller
  • SCAVMA Activities Awards- Kristi Rhodes and Patty Dingman
  • SCAVMA Hills Scholarship- Hagar Hauser
  • Dr. Ralph S. Wilhelm Jr. Scholarship- Jessica McBride Zimmerman

For additional photos from the coating ceremony on Facebook, click here.

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