White Coat ceremony

Welcome Class of 2025

Families, friends, faculty and staff gathered at the UC Davis Mondavi Center to welcome 150 new students into the UC Davis School of Veterinary Medicine Class of 2025 on August 20. Others watched a livestream of the event, which can be rewatched here.

Following the welcome and introductions by Dr. Karl Jandrey, Acting Dean John Pascoe offered remarks, acknowledging unprecedented challenges in the face of a global pandemic.

“Your hard work got you to this point in your life, guided by your passion, your belief in yourself, and the support of your loved ones,” Pascoe said as he welcomed the new students to the UC Davis veterinary medicine family. “Each of you has your own story to share with us.  As we teach you, you will also impact our lives, adding to our own experiences and wisdom.”

This incoming class includes four twins, including Danielle and Dominique Zuk who are both in the class of 2025. Two are opera singers and another two are gymnasts. At least two students live in tiny homes.

At least three students are equestrian competitors, including one who was a United States Para-Dressage Team Alternate and another who qualified for the IHSA Nationals twice. Several are starting second careers, after being in law, advertising and sociology. One student has been in a couple of episodes of the TV show Dr. Oakley Yukon Vet.

“One of you was attacked by a wild deer in the Grand Canyon,” Pascoe said. “I hate to break it to you, but this won’t be the last ungrateful animal you’ll encounter.”

Dr. Lori Hammond ’17 served as the guest speaker and recounted her challenges after she developed a rare spinal arterial venous malformation that compressed her spinal cord 80-90 percent and left her paralyzed during her undergraduate training in Animal Science at UC Davis. After more than nine months of intensive physical rehabilitation, she was able to walk again with the aid of a walker.

She followed her dream of attending veterinary school at UC Davis and then was diagnosed with leukemia. Despite the setbacks and having to delay her education for a year to fight the disease, Hammond remained dedicated to pursuing her dream and is now a staff veterinarian at VCA Mission Animal and Bird Hospital.

She told her story to the incoming class to encourage them to persevere through difficulties and know that they are now in a veterinary medicine family who will support them.

Following the white coat presentation and recitation of the veterinary medical student oath, CVMA President Elisabeth Klapstein offered words of wisdom and encouragement.

A small outdoor reception was sponsored by the Veterinary Insurance Services Company and the California Veterinary Medical Association. Strict COVID-19 protocols, including masking indoors, were observed throughout the ceremony.

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