47 New Doctors of Veterinary Medicine Recognized During 2022 Tuskegee Univ. Spring Commencement

The Tuskegee University College of Veterinary Medicine (TUCVM) Class of 2022 had 47 new doctors of veterinary medicine recognized on April 30.  Tuskegee University held its in-person Spring Commencement Graduate and Professional Schools Ceremony at the General “Chappie” James Center followed by the college’s in-person Veterinary Medicine Oath and Hooding Ceremony at the university’s Chapel.  Thirty of the 47 students graduated with honors. They included four “Summa Cum Laude,” eight “Magna Cum Laude” and 18 “Cum Laude.”  Both ceremonies were live-streamed for those not in attendance to view and are also available on the university’s YouTube channel for anyone who missed them to view later. [Tuskegee University is an UNCF-member institution.]

Also, during the university’s commencement ceremony, three TUCVM graduates received the Master of Science in Veterinary Science degree (Darius L. Caffey, Twanda H. Collins, and Bria J. Khabeer); two TUCVM graduates received the Ph.D. in Interdisciplinary Pathobiology – IDPB degree (Nadia Abdel-Rahman Al-toom and Dequarius A. King) and lastly, three graduates received the Ph.D. in Integrative Biosciences – IBS (Joakin O. Mori, Ahmad Bin Abdus Salam, and Naresh Shahi). The IBS Ph.D. program is jointly supported by the TUCVM; the College of Agriculture, Environment and Nutrition Sciences; and the College of Arts and Sciences.

Immediately after the April 30 commencement, veterinary medicine graduates participated in the veterinary medicine oath and hooding ceremony where Dr. Ruby L. Perry, dean of the veterinary medicine college, presided over the program. Dr. Roslyn Casimir, associate dean for academic affairs; Dr. Ebony Gilbreath, head of the Department of Pathobiology/assistant to the dean for Clinical Competencies and Strategic Initiatives; and Dr. Temesgen Samuel, associate dean for Research and Advanced Studies, provided assistance during the presentation and hooding of the Class of 2022.

In a personal letter to the TUCVM Class of 2022, Dean Perry said, “The TUCVM family salutes you on your successful journey through the professional program to achieve the DVM degree which is the culmination of your academic journey. Although the COVID-19 pandemic still required some adjustments to your learning experience, the Class of 2022 persevered and you are to be commended for the adjustment and finishing STRONG! We applaud you for your accomplishments and achievements across the past four years due to hard work and perseverance, and look forward to hearing about the accomplishments you will make as veterinary professionals, as leaders, educators, and researchers.”

Veterinary alumna Tiffini Brabham, DVM, PhD, DABT, served as this year’s Veterinary Medicine Oath and Hooding Ceremony speaker.  Dr. Brabham, a member of the Class of 1993, is a dedicated board-certified toxicologist and currently a Scientific Director at Takeda Pharmaceuticals and also current president of the Tuskegee Veterinary Medical Alumni Association (TVMAA).

She gave a powerful veterinary oath address entitled “Leadership in a post pandemic world…where legacy meets newfound modern-day success.” During her presentation, Dr. Brabham charged the graduates to live a “3-Dimensional life, that strives at cultivating personal LENGTH, BREADTH & HEIGHT.” Dr. Brabham also encouraged the graduates letting them know that their TUCVM family is confident that they are prepared. They have to just continue to rise up to the occasion just like their veterinary student predecessors.

She said, “You ALL are unique jewels amongst many, able to showcase our multi-generational years of strength. Please know that in-spite of everything there’s absolutely nothing you cannot achieve. Just lean-in on our rich Tuskegee Legacy, that has educated 70% of African-American veterinarians world-wide.”

Dr. Brabham concluded with, “Class of 2022, blaze your own trail with profound authenticity, honor and with charity. now the piton has been passed to you our amazing graduates all you have to do is catch it…congratulations!”

Dean Perry also recognized the CVM Distinguished Alumni Awards recipients during the veterinary oath ceremony program. This year’s honorees included:

  • Veterinary Oath Speaker Dr. Tiffini Brabham;
  • Dr. Michael Bailey, a board-certified veterinary radiologist with over three decades of experience and currently a medical director with IDEXX Telemedicine Consultants;
  • Dr. Michael J. Blackwell, retired assistant surgeon general, USPHS and current director of the Program for Pet Health Equity at the University of Tennessee and founder of AlignCare Health;
  • Dr. Linda C. Bostick, a career practitioner for over three decades and the proud owner and primary clinical veterinarian of Riverview Veterinary Hospital; and
  • Dr. Irving McConnell, a retired colonel with the US Army Reserves (US Army Civil Affairs Special Operations Command-AIRBORNE) and founder and CEO of The McConnell Group Inc., a health sciences company.

Also, as CEO of The McConnell Group, during Dr. McConnell’s acceptance of his award, he made a surprise announcement of making a job offer to any TUCVM DVM graduate still needing employment as a new veterinarian.

The college’s Class of 2022 represents the college’s 73rd class to receive DVM degrees from Tuskegee University. With this graduation, the College of Veterinary Medicine has awarded 2,963 veterinary medicine degrees.

Due to CDC COVID-19 guidelines, a reception did not follow the live oath ceremony; however, a repast with boxed meals was provided outside the Chapel.

To view the Graduate and Professional Schools Commencement Ceremony and the Veterinary Medicine Oath and Hooding Ceremony from April 30, please visit the following links for Tuskegee University’s YouTube Channel:  https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=kf8ZzsJPq_8 and https://youtu.be/IOzxKJHPE_g .