The Virginia-Maryland College of Veterinary Medicine welcomed its newest students in its Doctor of Veterinary Medicine (DVM), Master of Public Health (MPH), and Biomedical and Veterinary Sciences (BMVS) programs with a variety of orientation activities to celebrate the start of the fall semester.

Loading player for

The 127 new students in the DVM Class of 2023 participated in a weeklong orientation capped by a white coat ceremony at the Virginia Tech Moss Arts Center on Aug. 23. During the ceremony, Gregory Daniel, interim dean of the veterinary college, spoke about the white coat’s significance as a symbol of professionalism and the science-based nature of veterinary medicine. Students also received a stethoscope to mark their transition into the profession and were welcomed by representatives from the Virginia Veterinary Medical Association and the Maryland Veterinary Medical Association.

The incoming class arrived at Virginia Tech on the heels of a highly competitive application period. Interim Dean Daniel emphasized that the incoming students were  afforded a rare opportunity to become veterinarians, for more than 1,800 prospective students had applied for admission to the Class of 2023.

VA-MD Vet Med is one of the first veterinary schools in the U.S. to hold a white coat ceremony.

Virginia-Maryland College of Veterinary Medicine White Coat Ceremony 2019
The DVM Program's weeklong orientation was capped by a white coat ceremony during which 127 new veterinary students received their official white coats and stethoscopes. Photo by Hope Bradbury.

Earlier in the week, first-year DVM students completed orientation activities to establish and promote the class as a cohesive, supportive community. In addition to lectures, tours, and presentations at the college, students visited the Alta Mons summer camp and retreat center in Shawsville, Virginia, for a day of team-building exercises designed to boost their leadership, self-confidence, and communication skills.

Virginia-Maryland College of Veterinary Medicine Biomedical and Veterinary Sciences program orientation
New M.S. and Ph.D. students in the Biomedical and Veterinary Sciences Program were welcomed during orientation at the college on Aug. 21. Photo by Megan Quesenberry.

Meanwhile, the college also hosted orientation activities for its incoming graduate students. The BMVS Program, which prepares students to be scholars and researchers who will benefit animal and human health by advancing veterinary and biomedical knowledge, welcomed 21 new students at its Aug. 24 orientation at the college.

Of these, 12 are Ph.D. students, including two dual-degree DVM/Ph.D. students and two resident Ph.D. students. Of the 11 new M.S. students, six are residents. Additionally, two students who had completed an M.S. in the program were welcomed as Ph.D. students.

Virginia-Maryland College of Veterinary Medicine Master of Public Health program orientation
New graduate students in the Master of Public Health Program were welcomed during orientation at the college on Aug. 22-23. Photo by Megan Quesenberry.

The MPH Program also began a new academic year with a two-day orientation for 33 incoming students on Aug. 22 and Aug. 23. First-day activities included an opening reception, a welcome from MPH Program leaders, and sessions for students to learn about the curriculum, graduate student life, and available resources.

On the second day, students completed training for the Public Health Response Team, which is affiliated with the Virginia Department of Health's local Medical Reserve Corps. With this training under their belts, students will be able to participate in volunteer opportunities, such as disaster preparedness and assisting during public health emergencies.

MPH students have the option to pursue a concentration in infectious diseases and/or public health education. Seven of this year's incoming students are dual-enrolled in the DVM and MPH programs.