UC Davis Veterinary Medicine Dean Michael D. Lairmore

Dean Lairmore's weekly COVID-19 update – April 20, 2020

To the UC Davis Veterinary Medicine community:

“Gratitude bestows reverence, allowing us to encounter everyday epiphanies, those transcendent moments of awe that change forever how we experience life and the world.” —John Milton

Recently, it seems like we are constantly working to meet the challenges that this pandemic is putting us through, but last week it felt like we were all able to pause, look around, and express thanks to each other.

Donna and I felt grateful on Saturday for all the generosity shown within our community for supporting our students and programs through Give Day. We appreciated the donations that went to the Hardship Fund, a new fund to support veterinary students experiencing unexpected financial hardships that Donna and I used as our giving challenge. Along with that fund, the school raised money for the Compassionate Care Fund, the Veterinary Medical Center campaign, the Donald G. Low/AVMA Practitioner Fellowship, and other areas. I am grateful to the other people and organizations who sponsored challenges and to everyone who donated.

If you didn’t get a chance to read it on Give Day, I encourage you to read “Martha’s Story,” written by Stephanie Szmyd, who sponsored a Veterinary Emergency Response Team (VERT) challenge. You’ll be inspired by Martha and Stephanie (but keep your tissues nearby).

This Friday at noon, we are holding the first of our Instagram “Ask Me Anything” events that are oriented toward the animal-loving general public. Drs. Jane Sykes and Brian Bird will be answering your questions about pets, wildlife and COVID-19. Submit your questions on Instagram between Tuesday, April 21 at noon and Wednesday, April 22 at noon and tune in on Friday.

This past week, our Class of 2024 has officially been affirmed, and 150 of the best and brightest minds from over 1,000 applicants will join our SVM family in August.

Our virtual commencement ceremony is shaping up as we continue to work with the Class of 2020 to build a meaningful event. We will have short presentations by the provost, me, guest speaker Dr. Kim Dodd, and student speaker Ashley Keffler-Roa. Cesi Solari will sing the national anthem. I’m looking forward to seeing what else gets added to the ceremony!

You may have seen that in the midst of the pandemic, the Oiled Wildlife Care Network was mobilized to clean up an oil spill into the Cuyama River watershed that occurred from an oil tanker road accident. The network is back and has written about their experiences in their blog. Thank you to everyone who responded despite the additional hazard from the SARS-CoV-2 situation.

As I mentioned, there was a lot of gratitude last week, whether it was from students who thanked their professors and the staff for the work they put into the curriculum change, or from past patients and their people who sent a shout out to all the hospital personnel. I couldn’t resist joining in.

I deeply appreciate your efforts during this difficult time. You can take comfort in knowing that your work is paying off in quality patient care, educational outcomes, essential public service and other ways. Let’s continue to look for those transcendent moments in our daily lives. I’m proud to be associated with this school and all of you.

Michael D. Lairmore
Dean and Distinguished Professor


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