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Beloved Tradition is Restored as May PVM Graduation Celebration Returns to Purdue Memorial Union

Friday, June 24, 2022

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DVM and Veterinary Nursing graduates join together on the stage for a group photo

For the first time since 2019, the Purdue University College of Veterinary Medicine hosted its May Graduation Celebration in the Purdue Memorial Union Ballrooms where the newest DVM and Veterinary Nursing graduates were honored as family and friends looked on. Held Saturday, May 14, following the conclusion of the University Commencement Ceremony in the Elliott Hall of Music, the program featured recitation of oaths and recognition of recipients of awards for students, faculty, staff, and residents.

A Veterinary Nursing graduate's graduation cap is decorated with sparkly letters to read, "I did it for my dogs, BS RVT"

Dean Willie Reed opened the ceremony by commending the college’s Class of 2022. “This is a truly remarkable class. Graduates, you had the unique experience of completing your veterinary education in the midst of a global pandemic,” Dean Reed said. He then recalled how the pandemic upended academic pursuits around the country. “As the world faced unprecedented challenges, and colleges and universities across the country had to adapt to find new ways to safely educate their students, you persevered in your learning,” Dean Reed said. 

“Initially, as Purdue converted to online learning, and then as the University led the way nationally in safely returning to in-person instruction under the provisions of the Protect Purdue initiative, you showed commitment, resolve, and caring as you abided by the Protect Purdue pledge and persistently pursued your degree,” Dean Reed explained. “As a result, here we are today, to recognize your graduation as our Class of 2022 Veterinary Nursing and Doctor of Veterinary Medicine degree candidates.”

Dean Reed then introduced three guest speakers. Dr. Erin Kosta Wilson (PU DVM 2008) addressed the graduates in her role as president of the Purdue Veterinary Alumni Association. Next, the graduates heard from Marianne Dosmann, MS, a registered veterinary technician who serves as president of the Indiana Veterinary Technician Association. Then, Dr. Aaron Johnson (PU DVM 2005) offered words of advice as president of the Indiana Veterinary Medical Association.

Dean Reed then explained how the Graduation Celebration embodies the concept of the veterinary team, noting that of the more than 30 veterinary medical colleges in the U.S., Purdue is one of only four that offer both DVM and Veterinary Nursing or Technology programs. “At this time, we are going to recognize our Veterinary Nursing Program Bachelor of Science degree graduates, who have attained a valued position on the veterinary health care delivery team. We are very proud of these Veterinary Nursing Program graduates,” Dean Reed explained before introducing one of the class members, Estee Frauhiger, RVT, of Bluffton, Indiana, as the Class Responder. 

Estee smiles as she stands behind the podium on the stage looking into the audience
Estee Frauhiger, BS, RVT presents the Veterinary Nursing class response during the Graduation Celebration on Saturday, May 14.

Then, it was time to individually recognize each veterinary nursing graduate.  As their names were called by Dr. Chad Brown, director of Veterinary Nursing Programs, they stepped onto the stage and received the Purdue University Bachelor of Science in Veterinary Nursing pin from Instructional Technologist Holly McCalip. The pin symbolizes the graduates’ entry into the veterinary nursing profession. 

Two of the veterinary nursing graduates also were recognized with awards and the award citations were read as the students came forward. Estee Frauhiger received the Outstanding Veterinary Nurse Award, which is given to a fourth-year Veterinary Nursing student who exhibits both outstanding academics and excellent clinical skills. Zoe Pew was honored for her service as president of the Veterinary Nursing Student Organization for the past two years.

Then, the Veterinary Nursing graduates and all veterinary nurses in the audience were asked to join in reciting the Veterinary Technician Oath of Ethical Conduct. “The oath signifies our high regard for the ethical standards and legal regulations governing the practice of veterinary nursing, our strong commitment to the highest standards of patient care and client service, and our dedication to the animals that we serve,” Dean Reed said before introducing Instructional Technologist Jennifer Smith, who was selected by the students to lead them in reciting the oath.

Next, Dean Reed turned to the DVM graduates. “Four years ago, you were welcomed into the Purdue University College of Veterinary Medicine,” Dean Reed said. “Today, your class becomes the 60th Purdue DVM class to celebrate commencement and take the Veterinarian’s Oath.” He also thanked them for the significant role their class played as active and supportive participants in the life of the college. “Through your own personal commitment and hard work; your consistent and persistent effort to protect the health and safety of yourselves, your fellow students, and our faculty and staff; as well as your willingness to work together and pursue goals beyond individual success, you have accomplished much.”

Tiffany smiles as she speaks from the podium on the stage.
Dr. Tiffany Abernathy was selected by her peers to offer the DVM Class of 2022 formal response.

Dean Reed continued, “Now you possess the academic knowledge and technical skills required to be clinically competent, and you have gained an appreciation for the veterinary profession as a whole and its vital role in society. Welcome to a great profession and best wishes to all of you for long, productive, and very enjoyable careers.”

Then, Dean Reed introduced Dr. Tiffany Abernathy, of New Palestine, Indiana, as the class member selected by her peers to offer a formal class response. After Dr. Abernathy’s remarks, Associate Dean for Academic Affairs Kathy Salisbury stepped to the podium and announced the names of the graduates as they stepped onto the stage to be recognized. A number of the graduates also received awards, which were announced as their names were called. Congratulations to the following award recipients:

  • Dr. Tiffany Abernathy received the Class of 1983 Award, which is given to a student who has overcome obstacles or persevered despite difficult circumstances in pursuit of the DVM degree. Dr. Abernathy was nominated by her classmates for the award. The award recognized how she served as a role model for her classmates while being a devoted spouse and mother of three children.
  • Dr. Devonte Brown received the American College of Veterinary Internal Medicine Certificate of Clinical Excellence in Small Animal Medicine.
  • Dr. Tim Brunner was awarded the G. Edward Cummins Compassionate Care Award for exemplifying compassion for animals and clients alike.
  • Dr. Sean Heron Card received the 12th District of the Indiana Veterinary Medical Association Award, which recognizes a student who demonstrates excellence in academic performance, research, or service in veterinary public health and preventive medicine.
  • Dr. Natrine Cheuk received the Bob Rosenthal Senior Student Award in Clinical Oncology, which recognizes a student who demonstrates proficiency in the care of veterinary oncology patients and aptitude in clinical oncology.
  • Dr. Leah Douglas was recognized with the Comparative Ophthalmology Award for outstanding performance in comparative ophthalmology.
  • Dr. Benjamin Fields received the Indiana Association of Equine Practitioners 2nd Place Award for proficiency in equine medicine and surgery and displaying the highest degree of professionalism.
  • Dr. Adrianne Glaser received the American College of Veterinary Pathologists Award for Excellence in Veterinary Pathology for exceptional proficiency and interest in anatomic and/or clinical pathology.
  • Dr. Emily Hess was recognized with the Indiana Association of Equine Practitioners 1st Place Award for exhibiting the highest proficiency in equine medicine and surgery and displaying the highest degree of professionalism.  She also received the American College of Veterinary Internal Medicine Certificate of Clinical Excellence in Large Animals.
  • Dr. Anna Kern was recognized with the 15th District of the Indiana Veterinary Medical Association / American Association of Bovine Practitioners Excellence in Bovine Veterinary Medicine Award for demonstrating exceptional proficiency and interest in bovine production medicine and surgery.
  • Dr. Kindele Lenoir received the American College of Veterinary Radiology Award that recognizes a student who excels in comparative radiology and diagnostic imaging.
  • Dr. Hailey Lloyd received one of two Shelter Medicine Program Awards recognizing a student who exemplifies compassion for shelter pets, excellent interaction with shelter clients, and proficiency in shelter medicine. She also was honored with the American Academy of Veterinary Dermatology Award and the Dechra Excellence in Dermatology Award in recognition of her clinical proficiency in dermatology.  Additionally, Dr. Lloyd received the Indiana Veterinary Medical Association Award for Clinical Proficiency in All Species, which recognizes proficiency in both medicine and surgery across species. The award is considered the highest honor bestowed on a fourth-year student.
  • Dr. Lexi Miller received the Indiana Veterinary Medical Association Award for Clinical Proficiency for Large Animal species in recognition of her proficiency in large animal medicine and surgery.
  • Dr. Joni Montgomery was honored with the Indiana State Poultry Association Award recognizing her high proficiency in avian medicine.
  • Dr. Haley Nowakowski received the Central Indiana Veterinary Medical Association Award for her outstanding client communication skills.
  • Dr. Clint Peacock was honored with the American College of Veterinary Internal Medicine Certificate of Clinical Excellence in Small Animals and the Dechra Excellence in Small Animal Internal Medicine Award for his interest and proficiency in internal medicine including small animal endocrinology.  He also was selected by his classmates to receive the Purdue Veterinary Alumni Association Senior Leadership Award for demonstrating leadership through involvement in school activities, service to the community, and engagement with the veterinary medical profession.
  • Dr. Kathryn Riccitelli received one of the two Shelter Medicine Program Awards that recognize a student who exemplifies compassion for shelter pets, excellent interaction with shelter clients, and proficiency in shelter medicine.
  • Dr. Cameron Seger was recognized with the Indiana Veterinary Medical Association Award for Clinical Proficiency in Small Animal Species, which is awarded for proficiency in small animal medicine and surgery. He also received the American Animal Hospital Association Award for Proficiency in Primary Care in general small animal practice and the American College of Veterinary Surgeons Award for demonstrating academic and clinical proficiency in small animal surgery.
  • Dr. Logan Ullery received the American College of Theriogenologists Clinical Proficiency Award for his skills in theriogenology.
  • Dr. Allison Valentjin was recognized with the IDEXX Award for Proficiency in Clinical Pathology, which recognizes a student who demonstrates a strong understanding of clinical pathology and its practical application to clinical cases.
  • Dr. Bre Wilson received the Bastien Award for demonstrating empathy and exceptional care to canine patients.
  • Dr. Travis Wright was recognized with the Indiana Association of Equine Practitioners 3rd Place Award for proficiency in equine medicine and surgery, and for displaying the highest degree of professionalism.
  • Dr. Erin Yager received the Dechra Excellence in Equine Sports Medicine Award for exhibiting above average proficiency in the diagnosis and management of equine sports medicine cases, including rehabilitation and lameness disorders, and for her interest in regenerative medicine.
  • Dr. Kylie Zehner was honored with the American College of Veterinary Surgeons Award for demonstrating academic and clinical proficiency in large animal surgery.

Dean Reed then led the graduates along with DVM faculty and all veterinarians who were in attendance in the recitation of the Veterinarians’ Oath, which is a solemn promise to serve the animal kingdom and society.

Leah smiles as she shakes hands with Dean Reed as graduates line up behind her to be recognized
Dean Reed shakes hands with Dr. Leah Douglas as she crosses the stage during the Graduation Celebration in the Purdue Memorial Union following the University Commencement Ceremony on Saturday, May 14.

After a pause for a group photo of the Class of 2022, Dean Reed then recognized several of the faculty, residents, and staff who have instructed and worked alongside the graduates. 

The first award presented was the Katie McCallister Award, which recognizes a resident or intern who demonstrates extraordinary compassion and empathy toward both patients and their families. The recipient is Dr. Jennifer Peterson, a resident in small animal surgery, who received the award for the second year in a row.

The Johnson & Hoffman Residence Teaching Award, which recognizes a resident in the Department of Veterinary Clinical Sciences for excellence in teaching, was presented to Dr. Ahmed Khairoun, a resident in large animal surgery.

The Elanco Veterinary Technology Outstanding Teaching Award was presented to Instructional Technologist Holly McCalip. The award recognizes a Veterinary Nursing educator who has clearly communicated course content, facilitated skill acquisition, motivated students, shown a continued willingness to facilitate learning outside of a formal setting, counseled and mentored students, and served as a positive role model.

Then, Dean Reed presented the Weedon Faculty Recognition Award, which is given to the faculty member who has made the greatest contribution to members of the fourth-year veterinary class during their progress toward the DVM degree. The members of the DVM Class of 2022 selected Dr. Larry Adams, professor of small animal internal medicine, to receive the honor.

Following the conclusion of the ceremony, the graduates and their families and friends gathered along with faculty and staff at a reception in the South Ballroom to share congratulations and well wishes.

Additional photos from the Graduation Celebration are available to view and purchase through the website of photographer Ed Lausch at lauschphotography.com. On the galleries page, select the “2022 Purdue Veterinary Medicine” gallery and to login, enter the password “2022PVM”.

Click here to view a gallery of photos from the University’s Spring Commencement Ceremonies.


Writer(s): Kevin Doerr | pvmnews@purdue.edu



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