The Virginia-Maryland College of Veterinary Medicine is committed to diversity and to fostering an inclusive environment to promote learning and growth for all members of our community.

In August 2021, the college named its first director of diversity, equity, and inclusion; this new position in the Office of the Dean will lead efforts to promote a diverse, equitable, and inclusive culture collegewide.

Explore VT summer program
A five-day summer camp sponsored by Virginia Tech's Office for Inclusion and Diversity, ExploreVT brings high school students from underrepresented and underserved populations to campus to explore what Virginia Tech has to offer. Pictured is an ExploreVT session at VA-MD Vet Med.

Programs and initiatives

  • The VA-MD Vet Med community is committed to practicing and upholding the Virginia Tech Principles of Community.
  • Services for Students with Disabilities assists students with disabilities and personal and environmental issues that may interfere with full access to academics and/or hinder academic performance.
  • Our chapter of Veterinary Students as One In Culture and Ethnicity (VOICE) is a student-run organization that promotes the sociocultural awareness of veterinary students on a local and national level through diversity-themed programs, events, and community outreach. Contact VOICE at, and follow VOICE on Instagram.
  • We create a more welcoming and inclusive environment for LGBTQ+ students by participating in the Virginia Tech Cultural and Community Centers' SafeZone program.
  • Through participation in the DiVersity Matters initiative of the Association of American Veterinary Medical Colleges, we passionately engage in the recruitment, enrollment, matriculation, and development of a diverse student body.
  • To learn more about Virginia Tech's university-wide diversity programs and resources, visit InclusiveVT.

Director of Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion

Garry Morgan II, MEd
Office of the Dean
Phone: 540-231-8787

Community and Diversity Committee

Members of the Community and Diversity Committee are appointed by the dean to two-year terms, and members elect a chair who serves a two-year term. The committee's charge is as follows:

  • Periodically assess the climate of the college and make recommendations to the Executive Board to promote recruitment and retention of students, staff, and faculty from underrepresented populations.
  • Conduct an annual review of the College Diversity Plan and submit a report to the Executive Board detailing outcomes and recommending revisions to the plan

Committee membership

  • Phil Sponenberg (chair), professor, Department of Biomedical Sciences and Pathobiology
  • Michele Borgarelli, professor, Department of Small Animal Clinical Sciences
  • Ana Cristina Bortolaz de Figueiredo, clinical instructor, Department of Small Animal  Sciences
  • M. Daniel Givens, dean, Virginia-Maryland College of Veterinary Medicine
  • Carla Gutierrez, DVM student, Class of 2025
  • Becky Jones, program assistant, Department of Population Health Sciences
  • Ember Lucier, DVM student, Class of 2025
  • Diamond McClendon, bacteriology section head, ViTALS Lab
  • Harold McKenzie, professor, Department of Large Animal Clinical Sciences
  • Jatia Mills, PhD Student, Research and Graduate Studies
  • Garry Morgan, director of diversity, equity, and inclusion
  • Jacque Pelzer, assistant dean of student affairs and admissions, DVM Program
  • Audrey Ruple, associate professor, Department of Population Health Sciences
  • Priscila Serpa, research assistant professor, Department of Biomedical Sciences and Pathobiology
  • Natalie Southerland, MPH Student
  • Melinda Yeboah, MPH Student


For more information about diversity and inclusion initiatives at VA-MD Vet Med, please contact either of the following faculty members:

  • Dr. Phil Sponenberg
    Professor of Pathology/Genetics
    Department of Biomedical Sciences and Pathobiology
    Chair, VA-MD Vet Med Community and Diversity Committee
    Phone: 540-231-4805
  • Garry Morgan II, MEd
    Director of Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion Office of the Dean
    Phone: 540-231-8787