Courtesy of Tuskegee University
The Tuskegee University College of Veterinary Medicine (TUCVM) welcomed 58 new doctors of veterinary medicine into the profession on May 6 during the Graduate and Professional Schools formal ceremony in Chappie James Arena. But it was the Veterinary Medicine Oath ceremony that held the most excitement for the graduates.
With this graduation, the 74th in the history of the College of Veterinary Medicine, it has now awarded 3,021 veterinary medicine degrees from the only veterinary medical professional program on the campus of a Historically Black College or University.
“I am honored to have served as the dean to this Class of 2023 and it is with gladness of heart that I look forward to engaging with my colleagues as they now join me in a most distinguished group of veterinary professionals and veterinary alumni,” said Dr. Ruby Perry, Dean of the College of Veterinary Medicine during the oath and hooding ceremony. “The College of Veterinary Medicine family is extremely proud of each graduate and we look forward to hearing about the accomplishments they will make as veterinary professionals, as leaders, as educators, and as researchers. They are well-equipped to make significant contributions and play vital roles in protecting and enhancing human and animal welfare as they embark on their various career paths on a journey of lifelong learning beyond the DVM degree. Congratulations class of 2023!”
This year both the Graduate and Professional Schools Commencement speaker and the Veterinary Medicine Oath keynote speaker are veterinarians and Tuskegee alumni. Jerome Williams, DVM, ’68 and ’69, gave an uplifting address and Allen Cannedy, DVM, ’91 gave the Veterinary Medicine Oath Charge to the newly named doctors of veterinary medicine.
Dr. Williams is the immediate past President Pro Tempore (Chairman), of the Alabama A&M University Board of Trustees; President of the Alabama Veterinary Medical Foundation, owner/founder of Red Mountain Animal Clinic in Homewood, Alabama, where he continues to practice today, and founder/Executive Director of the Red Mountain Wellness and Restoration Foundation.
“As you prepare to enter the workforce, you will have great accomplishments and successes and on the other side of it you will be faced with challenges and disappointments. However, when those challenges and disappointments come, it can become daunting but the good, the bad and the ugly are all essential parts of any successful career,” said Dr. Williams. “Challenges can be opportunities for growth and learning, so be determined and committed to persevering through any hard moment because there is sunshine after weathering an unrelenting storm.”
Dr. Cannedy retired from North Carolina State University-College of Veterinary Medicine (NCSU-CVM) in June 2022 but continues to serve as a consultant and advocate for underrepresented individuals interested in careers in the veterinary profession. Prior to retiring, he served as NCSU-CVM’s Director of Diversity and Multicultural Affairs/ Chief Diversity Officer.
“Your journey will have many opportunities and your options are only limited by your imagination,” said Dr. Cannedy. “If you’ve got interests in a particular area, then pursue them and don’t let anyone tell you that you can’t do it!”
Dean Perry also recognized five TUCVM Distinguished Alumni Awards recipients during the veterinary medicine oath ceremony program. This year’s honorees included:
- Veterinary Oath Speaker Dr. Allen Cannedy;
- Commencement Speaker Dr. Jerome Williams;
- Dr. Leland M. McLaughlin, Jr., first African American intern at the University of Tennessee College of Veterinary Medicine and first African American veterinarian to enter private practice in Charlotte, NC and served as the head associate veterinarian at Freedom Animal Hospital;
- Dr. Brianna Skinner, Commissioned Corps Officer in the United States Public Health Service, board certified in laboratory animal medicine, honorary diplomate with the American Veterinary Epidemiology Society, and a Senior Regulatory Veterinarian currently assigned to the Office of Counterterrorism and Emerging Threats at the U.S. Food and Drug Administration; and
- Dr. SanYvette Williams-Foy, currently the president of the DELMARVA-DC TVMAA Chapter, has served as an officer in the U.S. Public Health Service Commissioned Corp and trained to promote, protect and advance the health and safety of the public during emergency and disaster conditions while detailed to the EPA.