Newest Veterinarians Learn
the Value of Normal
The University of Missouri College of Veterinary Medicine graduated 102 new veterinarians on May 17 during the College’s 64th annual commencement. College Dean Neil C. Olson served as the master of ceremonies for the event and introduced the platform party including the speakers.
Peggy Fisher, president of the CVM’s Alumni Association, greeted the class on behalf of the organization. Olson then introduced speaker Jim Rhoades, a member of the Class of 1992, who now works in vaccine development for Swiss pharmaceutical giant Novartis.
Rhoades shared with the graduates wisdom he learned from his boss, the president of Novartis, who told him that the key to job satisfaction is recognizing that normal is extraordinary, particularly when a family member or pet is ill. “People want things to get back to normal. You have the skills and talents to restore normal,” Rhoades told the CVM Class of 2013.
He also told them those same skills and talents that they developed during their four-year professional veterinary curriculum would allow them to pursue careers they may not know exist.
“You have a degree that will open a million doors,” he said.
Rhoades advised the class members to thank the people who had helped them succeed in their veterinary training. He also cautioned them that while they would change lives, they would also be called upon to help future clients through difficult times. “Not everything you’re going to do will have a happy ending.” He told the class that the best way to console a grieving client is with complete honesty.
He told them not to be afraid to be scared. Rhoades confessed that when he first graduated the College of Veterinary Medicine, he feared that he had not learned enough and would never possess a knowledge base equal to his mentors’. He shared the advice he was given from one of his professors at the time: “You will miss so much more from not looking than you will ever miss from not knowing,” he said.
Craig Payne, president of the Missouri Veterinary Medical Association, led the graduates in reciting the Veterinarian’s Oath. Ron Cott, associate dean for Student and Alumni Affairs and director of Development, presented the graduating class for investiture, which was conducted by Dusty Nagy, assistant teaching professor, Brian Frappier, associate clinical professor, and Linda Berent, associate dean for academic affairs. Former Missouri Supreme Court Judge Ann K. Covington, a member of the UM Board of Curators, conferred the doctor of veterinary medicine degree to the class members.
“Today is a dream realized,” Daniel Tappmeyer said. Members of the Class of 2013 selected Tappmeyer to give a response on their behalf. He told the audience that none of the country’s newest veterinarians had reached that point on their own. All had received support from friends and family. “Thank you so much for loving your veterinarian through the good times and the bad,” he said.
He also told his classmates that they should expect bumps in the road during their careers and quoted his father, a veterinarian in Wright City, Mo., and a member of the CVM Class of 1974. “The worst thing that happens Monday morning, often makes the best story by Friday evening.”
Tappmeyer talked about the shifts that are under way in veterinary medicine. “The profession is not dying, it’s changing,” he stated, “we are in a position to ride or create that change as it’s happening.”
Veterinarians completing internships, residencies and graduate programs at the CVM also received recognition during the ceremony.
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