The Virginia-Maryland College of Veterinary Medicine recently welcomed new students in its doctor of veterinary medicine (D.V.M.), master of public health (M.P.H.), and biomedical and veterinary sciences (B.M.V.S.) M.S. and Ph.D. programs.

The 127 new students in the D.V.M. Class of 2023 participated in a week-long orientation capped by a white coat ceremony at the Virginia Tech Moss Arts Center on Aug. 23. Gregory Daniel, interim dean of the veterinary college, spoke to students during the ceremony about the white coat’s significance as a symbol of professionalism and the science-based nature of veterinary medicine.

The incoming class arrived in Blacksburg after making it through a highly competitive application period. Interim Dean Daniel emphasized that the incoming students have been afforded a rare opportunity to become veterinarians; more than 1,800 prospective students applied for admissions in the Class of 2023.

The veterinary college was one of the first U.S. veterinary schools to hold a white coat ceremony. During the event, students also received a stethoscope to mark their transition into the profession and were welcomed by representatives from the Virginia and Maryland veterinary medical associations.

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Earlier in the week, first-year D.V.M. students completed orientation activities designed to establish and promote the class as a cohesive, supportive community. In addition to lectures, tours, and presentations at the college, students visited the Alta Mons summer camp and retreat center in Shawsville, Virginia, for a day of team-building exercises designed to boost their leadership, self-confidence, and communication skills.

Meanwhile, the college also hosted orientation activities for graduate students. The B.M.V.S. program, which prepares students to be scholars and researchers who will benefit animal and human health by advancing veterinary and biomedical knowledge, welcomed 21 new students at its orientation on Aug. 24 at the veterinary college.

Virginia-Maryland College of Veterinary Medicine Biomedical and Veterinary Sciences program orientation
The college welcomed new biomedical and veterinary sciences M.S. and Ph.D. graduate students during orientation held at the college on Aug. 21. Photo by Megan Quesenberry.

Of these, 12 are Ph.D. students, including two dual degree D.V.M./Ph.D. students and two resident Ph.D. students. Of the 11 new master’s degree students, six are residents. Additionally, two students who previously completed their master’s degree in the program were welcomed as Ph.D. students this semester.

The M.P.H. program also began a new academic year with a two-day orientation for 33 incoming students on Aug. 22 and 23. First day activities included an opening reception, a welcome from M.P.H. program leaders, and sessions for students to learn about the program curriculum, graduate student life, and resources available to them.

Virginia-Maryland College of Veterinary Medicine Master of Public Health program orientation
The veterinary college welcomed new master of public health graduate students during orientation held at the college on Aug. 22 and Aug. 23. Photo by Megan Quesenberry.

On the second day, the students completed training for the public health response team, which is part of the Virginia Department of Health's local medical reserve corps. With this training under their belts, students have the opportunity to particpate in volunteer opportunities, such as disaster preparedness and assisting during public health emergencies.

M.P.H. students have the option to pursue a concentration in infectious diseases and/or public health education. Seven of this year's incoming students are dual-enrolled in the D.V.M. and M.P.H. programs.

— Written by Julia Hurley