The College of Veterinary Medicine and Biomedical Sciences officially welcomed the incoming DVM Class of 2016 with the traditional Passages and Coating Ceremony on Friday, Aug. 17. Family and friends joined in the celebration as 138 new students in the Professional Veterinary Medical Program donned the traditional blue coat and signed the PVM Code of Honor.
For Dr. Cynthia Kathleen Opfenring, the occasion was especially meaningful. She was here to watch her daughter, Danielle Opfenring Amavisca, join the veterinary profession, following in her mother’s footsteps. Dr. Opfenring is a member of the DVM Class of 1981, the first class to graduate from the Veterinary Teaching Hospital (completed in 1979) and one of the first female veterinary graduates from Colorado State University to see their daughter enter the CSU Professional Veterinary Medical Program.
“I have a mobile veterinary clinic and Danielle practically grew up in that practice,” said Dr. Opfenring, who practices in Yuma, Ariz. “I’m very excited to be here and to see Danielle take this first step on her own path to a career in veterinary medicine.”
DVM students at the Passages and Coating Ceremony.
Welcoming students to their professional program were Dr. Mark Stetter, Dean of the College of Veterinary Medicine and Biomedical Sciences; Dr. Randa MacMillan, President-Elect of the Colorado Veterinary Medical Association; Mr. Ralph Johnson, Executive Director of CVMA; Bonnie Yordy, student liaison to the CVMA Student Chapter; Dr. Rob Callan, 2012 Pfizer Distinguished Teacher; and Mr. Derek Matthews, Class of 2015 President.
“You are here to learn the medicine, and then to keep learning,” said Dr. MacMillan. “You also are here to learn the art of medicine: communication, integrity, and honesty. We always try to do what’s best for each patient, but remember sometimes you have to temper that to the situation. And remember to give back – give back to causes that touch your heart.”
Dr. Peter Hellyer, Associate Dean for Professional Veterinary Medicine, was emcee for the ceremony; and Dr. Sherry Stewart, Assistant Dean for Admissions, introduced each student. Dr. Stewart provided a snapshot of the DVM Class of 2016 with a few statistics: the average GPA is 3.6; 77 percent of the class is female (down a couple of percentage points from last year; the average age is 25 and the age range is 21 to 43 years old; 34 are the first in their family to complete a college degree. They have traveled and worked all over the world in volunteer positions, and have had careers as diverse as professional pianist, rugby player, former Miss Rodeo Wyoming, and cattle nutrition specialist.