2023 graduates

Congratulations to the Class of 2023!

Honored in the 73rd Commencement Ceremony on May 26th

​Congratulations to the Class of 2023 who received their degrees from the UC Davis School of Veterinary Medicine in its 73rd Commencement Ceremony held at the Mondavi Center on May 26th. Among those graduating were 144 DVM students, 23 residents and 15 students in the Master of Preventive Veterinary Medicine program.

Dean Mark Stetter provided opening remarks, and Provost and Executive Vice Chancellor Mary Croughan gave a warm welcome to the graduates.

Drs. Ferguson and Hodges
Drs. Terrence Ferguson (right) and Vernard Hodges of the Critter Fixers show.

Drs. Terrence Ferguson and Vernard Hodges, hosts of the popular “Critter Fixers” series on Disney+ and Nat Geo WILD, served as guest speakers. They shared their journey from growing up in rural Georgia to veterinary school at Tuskegee University to celebrity veterinarians with a worldwide following. Their success was made possible by pouring from full cups, and by the supportive team of people they have chosen in their lives. They both still practice full time, film for more than half the year, run a cattle farm, and have a number of business ventures on top of that.

“We see giving back and pouring into others as our responsibility, and we are happy to do it,” Ferguson said. “We have an incredible team of people who work to lift us up, and that’s the only way we can do what we do. Investing in other people not only helps them, it helps you too.”

Hodges added: “Sometimes stressing can be a blessing. The stress of our daily lives reminds us that our lives are full. They’re full of making change and trying to improve the world for others.”

They closed their remarks with the following charge to the new graduates:

Do good works.
Practice good medicine.
Never stop learning.
Help as many people as you can.                  
Enjoy the journey!

Watch the Critter Fixers' congratulatory video message to the graduates here.


Yael Ad and Alex True
Dr. Joie Watson presents awards to Yael Ad and Alex True

Dr. Joie Watson presented both Yael Ad and Alex True with the school medal, the highest honor for a graduating DVM student in recognition of outstanding academic and clinical performance.

Dr. William Vernau was chosen by the students as the faculty speaker. He encouraged them to strive to make a difference, be connected and stay connected, as that connection brings happiness and satisfaction.

Student speaker Beth Onaga likened the graduating DVMs as the golden retriever class. “Similar to the golden retriever, our class comes from a variety of backgrounds, ethnicities, religions, etc. Together we share a wealth of knowledge and experiences that should not be taken for granted. We are extremely hard workers, loyal and trustworthy, and never give up when help is needed.”

She closed with a quote by the late Dr. Lane Johnson, a beloved instructor who offered the faculty speech via video in 2020 during the height of the pandemic:

Strive for progress, not perfection. Look for the good; no matter the circumstance, there is part of it that is good. It may be small and difficult to find, but it will have great meaning.

“Congratulations to us, the Class of 2023,” Onaga said. “I love you all and wouldn’t want to have gone through this with anyone else.”


Beth Onaga
Student Speaker Beth Onaga


2023 grads on stage


View the 2023 Commencement Recording​​​​​

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