Class of 2015 tips tassels to left, says goodbye

Dean Lloyd and President Fuchs

President Kent Fuchs with Dean Jim Lloyd. (Photo by Sarah Carey)

One hundred and two members of the University of Florida College of Veterinary Medicine’s Class of 2015 received their D.V.M. diplomas, along with inspiring remarks and congratulations from UF and college administration, their class president and one of their favorite former professors, during commencement exercises held May 23 at the UF Phillips Center.

Four students also were conferred M.P.H. degrees, having completed the dual-degree program. In addition, the college’s 2015 Distinguished Award winners were recognized during the ceremony.

Dr. Kent Fuchs, UF’s new president, told the students and their families gathered for the occasion, “I feel your joy and your relief.”

“We have enjoyed having you here with us, but to be honest, we’re glad you’re leaving,” Fuchs said. “We are glad that you are graduating because the world needs you. The human world needs you and the animal world needs you. We need your knowledge, your abilities, your compassion and especially your University of Florida values.”

College Dean James W. Lloyd noted that this year’s graduates came to UF from diverse backgrounds and that their paths had been anything but “cookie cutter.”

Distinguished Award winners

From left to right are Dr. Glen Wright, Dr. Natalie Isaza, Dr. Luisito Pablo, Dr. Johanna Elfenbein, Dr. Lauren Davidson and Dean Jim Lloyd. Wright and Elfenbein were Outstanding Young Alumni recipients, Izaza received the Alumni Achievement Award, Davidson received the Distinguished Service Award and Pablo gave the commencement address. All of the college’s Distinguished Award winners were honored during the ceremony. (Photo by Sarah Carey)

“Not everyone has taken the same route to this end,” he said, noting that students came to UF with a variety of educational backgrounds and graduate degrees in areas including animal sciences, biomedical sciences, mathematics, toxicology and veterinary medicine.

“One came with an M.P.H., one came with an M.B.A. and one held a J.D.,” Lloyd said, adding that 40 students would be receiving professional certificates in specialized areas such as aquatic animal medicine, international veterinary medicine, food animal medicine, shelter medicine and business management.

He noted that the overall class grade point average was 3.3, which he called “remarkable” and added that the class had an 83 percent employment rate, either with specific jobs or through enrollment in an advanced training program. One graduate, Cleon Hendricks, would be commissioned this summer as a captain in the U.S. Army, Lloyd said.

“This is indeed a great time to be a veterinarian,” Lloyd said. “The future is bright for the profession. We enjoy an outstanding level of respect from society and our career opportunities are expanding and emerging.”

He closed by encouraging the class to remember that their learning doesn’t end with graduation and that the college will always be here to support them in their careers.

Dual DVM/MPH recipients

Four members of the Class of 2015 received M.P.H. degrees along with their D.V.M.s. Pictured with Dr. Amy Blue of the College of Public Health and Health Professions are Alyssa Comroe, Dana Edwards, Blue, Lindsey Hochman and Stephanie Bode. (Photo by Sarah Carey)

The class chose a former professor of veterinary anesthesia and pain management, Dr. Luisito Pablo, to provide the commencement address.

In his address, Pablo said that research has shown that success of individuals in professional development is based primarily on interpersonal skills, not cognitive ability.

“Your success cannot be determined by the number of lines in your CV or resume, your success cannot be determined by the number of patients that you’ve treated successfully,” Pablo said. “Your success will depend on how well you treat people.”

This applies not only to people they will be working with, but also to future clients and other people, Pablo told the students.

He quoted the late Dr. Maya Angelou, a well-known poet and author: “People will forget what you said. People will forget what you did. But people will never forget how you made them feel.”

Although there is no perfect job and every job has its own inherent problems, there may be times students have to change course, Pablo said.

“Don’t be discouraged,” he said. “Change will always be part of your career. Always try to change for the better.”

Class president Hunter Schrank talked about his mother, who lost her life at the age of 49 after battling breast cancer. He was only 17.

“I can remember vividly sitting in her hospital room on one of her last evenings on this earth. When I asked her how I could go on living without her, and how she wanted me to go on living my life, she told me, ‘always be kind, and never lose your sense of humor.’”

He added, “Although I will admit this can be difficult at times, I would invite all of you to incorporate these words into your daily lives. Be kind wherever possible. Be kind to your patients, to your colleagues and your staff and your clients. Take that extra moment from your day to lend a hand to someone in need.”

Above all, he said, “Be kind to yourself.”

Strive to learn from your mistakes, put forth your best effort and you will take pride and have no shame during trying times, he said.

The commencement ceremony can be viewed in its entirety here. To view additional photos taken at the event, check out the college’s Facebook album here.

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June 2015


Students receive prestigious Army Health Professions scholarship

Two UF veterinary medical students have received a prestigious U.S. Army scholarship tied to public health.

Anatomy, neuroscience professor wins top teaching, research honors

Dr. Rick Johnson receives the college’s top teaching award, along with a UFRF professorship in honor of his research.

Distinguished Award winners

Class of 2015 tips tassels to left, says goodbye

Colleagues, friends say goodbye and good luck to the UFCVM’s Class of 2015 at commencement exercises held May 23.

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