“Chip was the first person I met in our class,” Caroline Godine (DVM ’87) recalled.

Caroline had gone to Day Spring Church that morning in 1983, with her roommate, where Richard “Chip” Godine (DVM ’87) attended. Both Chip and Caroline were incoming first-year students at the veterinary college and were scheduled to attend their class picnic that afternoon at Sinking Creek. Caroline’s roommate helped her get to Sinking Creek and introduced them, since she remembered seeing Chip at church that morning.

The pair hit it off instantly and would spend the next four years getting to know one another through Christian Veterinary Fellowship, bible study, prayer group, potluck dinners, but mostly by studying together and attending the same classes eight hours a day.

“We knew enough that we wanted to be in the same area after we graduated,” Chip said. The pair first worked in Eastern Virginia, with Caroline working in a mixed practice in Northern Neck and Chip in Yorktown at a small animal practice. Within one year of graduation, they were married and ready for their next adventure together.

The next several years brought changes in their lives, both professional and personal. They moved around Virginia and had the opportunity to co-own practices. Chip spent time as a traveling ultrasonographer and serving as an active member of the Virginia Veterinary Medical Association (VVMA), including roles as president and representative. During this time the Godines welcomed four children; Caroline was able to homeschool the children, filling in as a relief vet once a week. She enjoyed homeschooling and felt as if she was raising the next generation of veterinarians. “I had the luxury of being married to Chip, and owning a practice with him, I would go into work one day a week…and that’s how Lina got so interested. She would come into work with me.”

The Godines share a pride for their alma mater and enjoy sharing in the experiences with their daughter. She frequently emails them about what she learned in class that day and passes along information. “She keeps us cutting-edge,” Chip chuckled. “What are you learning? What’s the latest?” Caroline laughed and continued, “She keeps us learning; we never know it all.” 

The Next Generation Lina Godine is a fourth-year student at the college, and has worked as a vet assistant in the summers at her parents’ practice, Ruckersville Animal Hospital. “It’s been amazing to have her share stories of the same professors that we had. That is mind boggling,” Caroline laughed. She remembered the faculty during her time at the vet school, “The professors were mentors, and they weren’t just professors. They guide you, they encourage you, they help you regain the vision and focus.” “I’m really happy for her. I think she has not only really wanted it, but she is really suited to be a veterinarian,” Chip reflected. 

The Godines have stayed engaged with the college over the years by attending reunions, making gifts, mentoring students, and serving on alumni boards. Caroline shared, “I just always had a great feeling about our alma mater. I was actually accepted [somewhere else] and I chose to go to Tech, to the Virginia-Maryland school. I got a great education because we were just 80 in a class. It felt like family. We lived together, we played together, we fought together, we learned together.” 

In the summer of 2017, in honor of their 30th reunion, the Godines gave a transformational gift in support of research and classroom renovation. Chip expressed that since becoming a veterinarian, he has always felt a part of two families: the veterinary community and VMCVM alumni. “First, veterinarians are amazing people…and we need to support one another. The other family is your veterinary school family where you were formed, where you overcame a lot of challenges in order to succeed…don’t take that for granted; the significance of that and where you are today.”