Faculty Members and Alumnus Provide Wisdom to Students During Transition Ceremony


Basseterre, St. Kitts—On Thursday, December 9, Ross University School of Veterinary Medicine hosted its fifth Transition Ceremony to honor its Class of 2012. The ceremony symbolizes the transition that takes place as the seventh semester students complete their didactic training in St. Kitts and begin their clinical semesters in the United States. The students will complete their clinical studies at one of twenty-two Ross affiliated AVMA-accredited US veterinary schools.

“A transition is a process of movement from something old to something new, a movement toward the next step”, said Celestine Njoku, DVM, PhD, professor of Pathology, who spoke on behalf of the Pathobiology section.

The Transition Ceremony is a time for students to reflect upon their training in St. Kitts and a time for faculty to congratulate each student on their academic success. The event also signifies the next step in a students’ journey to become veterinarians. Faculty members, representing each of the academic sections, shared words of encouragement to the students. Representing the Clinical Sciences section, Jason Johnson, DVM, assistant professor of Theriogenology, wanted to be certain students understood that veterinarians do more than just “treat sick animals and put up with people”—a quote he found on a veterinary career blog.

“We are a part of one of the most trusted professions in the world; therefore, we have the global responsibility to serve people through their animals,” said Johnson. “Attached to the other end of the leash, lead rope, halter or head catch is a person who trusts and reveres YOU!”

The ceremony helps to reinforce a value system, which includes integrity, honesty and a simple love for animals. It also serves as a way to communicate to the students that they are indeed more than prepared for their clinical years in the US.

“I realized that not only was I teaching you, each of you taught me; I learned that it is okay to say ‘I don’t know’ and that trust is of the most importance. Remember this as you are in your clinical year or when working with your clients in the future,” remarked Lindsay Moffatt, DVM, assistant professor of Anatomy and representing the Structure and Function section.

The keynote address was presented by Chad Davis, DVM ’08, who paralleled his own experience to what the students might be going through during the final semesters of study and assured them that they indeed were more than prepared. Davis urged the students to take responsibility for their future and prepare for the unexpected, citing an experience during his clinical year when he had to treat a Bactrian camel.

“I learned a great deal from the camel, I learned that just because I wasn’t familiar with camels that I could do the research and figure it out. And more importantly, I could work with my colleagues to understand the needs of the animal,” said Davis. “I learned to persevere…and I encourage each of you to climb your own Mt. Everest and persevere; but don’t forget to give thanks to your support team.”

Presiding over the ceremony was Mark Freeman, DVM, assistant professor of Small Animal Surgery who provided closing remarks following the presentation of an instrument set, engraved with each student’s initials, for use during their clinical semesters.

About Ross University School of Veterinary Medicine
Ross University is a provider of medical and veterinary education, offering doctor of medicine and doctor of veterinary medicine degree programs. Founded in 1982 and located in St. Kitts, the School of Veterinary Medicine is affiliated with 22 AVMA-accredited US veterinary schools where students complete their clinical year. The University’s Veterinary Teaching Hospital is the only facility outside the US and Canada accredited by the American Animal Hospital Association. Ross University School of Veterinary Medicine is committed to improving the well-being of people and animals in the St. Kitts and Nevis community through service, education and research.