The college takes action to promote diversity and inclusion
September 18, 2020
The Virginia-Maryland College of Veterinary Medicine is committed to its role in promoting diversity and fostering an inclusive environment to encourage learning and growth for every member of our community. This 2020-2026 strategic plan demonstrates our commitment to take the following actions in support of these goals:
- Increasing scholarship funds to defray educationalcosts of underrepresented minority students;
- Hiring a director of diversity and inclusion to coordinate advancement of the college’s diversity goals; and
- Expanding the number of college trainings, workshops, and educational opportunities.
In alignment with these priorities, the college is pleased to announce the creation of its first endowed scholarship for students of an underrepresented population with demonstrated financial need: The Hoban, Lee, and Dance Endowed Scholarship Fund. This scholarship is named in honor of the college's first Black graduates: Lynne Hoban (DVM ’86), Margie Lee (DVM ’86), and Mario Dance (DVM ’90).
Lynne Hoban owns and operates Friendship Pet Hospital in Fountain Hills, Arizona. When she first arrived in Blacksburg after graduating from Cornell University, the college’s large animal building and other structures were not yet built, so classes were held in trailers. Today, Hoban looks forward to returning to campus to experience the new and innovative facilities used by current students. Despite studying at a brand-new veterinary college, Hoban believes that her education was top-notch, well preparing her for a successful career in five states, including a fellowship at the Naval Medical Research Institute.
Margie Lee, a professor at the University of Georgia College of Veterinary Medicine for more than 25 years, now serves as department head and professor in the Department of Biomedical Sciences and Pathobiology here at the college. Lee, who earned a B.S. in biology at Virginia Tech before completing a DVM at the college, went on to earn an M.S. and a Ph.D. in medical microbiology at the University of Georgia. Lee is proud to be part of the first endowed scholarship specifically supporting underrepresented students, which demonstrates the college’s commitment to inclusionand diversity.
Mario Dance, a clinical research veterinarian in the department overseeing animal care at Virginia Commonwealth University, will retire from that role in December 2020. For two decades, Dance has also served as a consultant veterinarian providing animal care and research guidance for several other research institutions, including the Veteran’s Administration, Virginia State University, Randolph-Macon College, and the University of Richmond. Following retirement, he will continue in that role as he shifts into full-time ministry with his church. After earning an undergraduate degree at Virginia Tech, Dance used a loan package to overcome the financial barrier of a veterinary education, and he believes that having had access to a scholarship such as this would have made a significant difference.
The college is mindful that this endowed scholarship is one small step in supporting our Principles of Community: “We take individual and collective responsibility for helping to eliminate bias and discrimination and for increasing our own understanding of these issues through education, training, and interaction with others.”