Tuskegee University

05/20/2024 | Press release | Distributed by Public on 05/21/2024 09:49

63 Doctors of Veterinary Medicine recognized during Tuskegee University 2024 spring commencement, oath and hooding ceremony

63 Doctors of Veterinary Medicine recognized during Tuskegee University 2024 spring commencement, oath and hooding ceremony

May 20, 2024

2024 Class with Dean Perry.

Contact: Anissa Riley, College of Veterinary Medicine

Dean Perry (left) and President Morris (right) present award
to the Veterinary Oath keynote speaker, Dr. Gartrell.

The Tuskegee University College of Veterinary Medicine (TUCVM) welcomed 63 new doctors of veterinary medicine into the 75th graduating class on May 4 during the Graduate and Professional Schools formal ceremony in the Chappie James Arena.

With the Oath and Hooding ceremony, Tuskegee has now awarded over 3,000 veterinary medicine degrees from the only veterinary medical professional program on the campus of a Historically Black College or University.

"I am honored to have served as the dean to this Class of 2024 and it is with gladness of heart that I look forward to engaging with my colleagues as they now join me in a most distinguished group of veterinary professionals and veterinary alumni," said Dr. Ruby L. Perry, dean of the College of Veterinary Medicine during the oath and hooding ceremony. "The College of Veterinary Medicine family is extremely proud of each graduate and we look forward to hearing about the accomplishments they will make as veterinary professionals, as leaders, as educators, and as researchers. They are well-equipped to make significant contributions and play vital roles in protecting and enhancing human and animal welfare as they embark on their various career paths on a journey of lifelong learning beyond the DVM degree. Congratulations Class of 2024!"

Each year a veterinary professional delivers the challenge address to the veterinary graduates. This year the Veterinary Medicine Oath keynote speaker was Tuskegee Veterinary alumna Carla Gartrell, DVM, JD, DACVIM. Dr. Gartrell, an '88 graduate, gave an uplifting Veterinary Medicine Oath Charge to the newly named doctors of veterinary medicine. She is the seventh veterinary alum from Tuskegee University to be appointed as dean in the American Association of Veterinary Medical Colleges (AAVMC).

Dr. Gartrell was appointed as the dean at Midwestern University College of Veterinary Medicine located in Glendale, Arizona, in 2022. She received both her B.S. and Doctor of Veterinary Medicine (DVM) degrees from Tuskegee University in 1988. Prior to becoming dean at Midwestern, she previously held the faculty and administration positions of Associate Professor and the Associate Dean for Academic Affairs and then promoted to Professor and Associate Dean for Clinical Affairs. She is Board-certified by the American College of Veterinary Internal Medicine and is a member of the American Veterinary Medical Association, American Bar Association, and the Arizona Veterinary Medical Association.

During Dr. Gartrell's presentation to the new graduates, she spoke on three stories that made a profound difference in her journey as a veterinarian. She summarized the following six core principles that all begin with the letter "C" for the graduates to embrace in her challenge to them: "1. Compassion - be compassionate and care deeply, 2. Curiosity - stay curious and committed to life-long learning, 3. Courage - be bold because you grow through what you go through, 4. Community - you are a vital part of a larger community so be involved in it, 5. Champion - be a champion for yourself, your patient and others, and lastly, 6. Celebrate - you have earned this moment so embrace your journey to get here and look forward to your futures, " Dr. Gartrell said.

Dean Perry also recognized five TUCVM Distinguished Alumni Awards recipients during the veterinary medicine oath ceremony program. This year's honorees included:

  • Dr. Carla Gartrell '88, Veterinary Medicine Oath Speaker and second Tuskegee veterinary medicine alumna appointed dean of U.S. veterinary school;
  • Dr. James "Jim" Heintz, Sr. '73 (posthumously), former TUCVM faculty member who served in private practice for 32 years before transitioning to academia as a result of Hurricane Katrina. Dr. Heintz dedication to his alma mater remained steadfast throughout his career serving as President of the Tuskegee (then School) of Veterinary Medicine Alumni Association, serving on the Tuskegee Veterinary Medical Alumni Association (TVMAA) Executive Council, and being recognized for his enduring support of Tuskegee as a prestigious Presidential Associate Award recipient;
  • Dr. Charles Lowrie '72, a dedicated veterinarian with over 26 years of service as a general practitioner with a referral focus in neurology and neurosurgery, then serving in academia as the Clinical Neurologist and Neurosurgeon at the College of Veterinary Medicine at Michigan State University until retiring in 2002 as a professor emeritus. Also a previous president of the TVMAA, Dr. Lowrie is most notably recognized for his work in co-facilitating clinical experiences for aspiring veterinary students in the Vetward Bound program and providing counsel and support for Tuskegee graduates completing their Post-DVM training at MSU;
  • Dr. David Negola '72, a seasoned veterinarian with over 50 years of experience who has created several private practices as well as mentored and/or employed multiple talented individuals who he recommended to Tuskegee for veterinary school. Through his mentorship, these individuals have prospered and gone on to own practices themselves all over the country. Dr. Negola's commitment to Tuskegee has also led to his service on the Dean's Advisory Board and receiving the Presidential Associate Award for financial support to the school/college since graduation; and
  • Dr. Richard Savino '72, a dedicated small animal companion veterinarian who retired in 2020 after giving 48 years of service to the profession and his alma mater. He was previously honored with the Presidential Associate Award for his dedication to his beloved alma mater and he treasures the profound impact Tuskegee has had on his life. Dr. Savino has served on the Dean's Advisory Board, the Alumni Executive Board, co-chaired the Minority Recruitment Committee striving to promote diversity and inclusion, and contributed to the development of the alumni association's (TVMAA) website, ensuring that the bonds endure beyond graduation.

The Veterinary Oath and Hooding Ceremony it is available for viewing at the university's YouTube Channel.

About the Tuskegee University College of Veterinary Medicine

Located in Alabama as one of the state's two accredited veterinary programs, the Tuskegee University College of Veterinary Medicine (TUCVM) was envisioned in 1944 by Dr. Frederick D. Patterson, founder of the United Negro College Fund (UNCF), and officially established at Tuskegee in 1945. TUCVM is the only veterinary medical professional program located on the campus of a Historically Black College or University (HBCU) in the United States. The College has educated more than 70 percent of the nation's African American veterinarians and has been recognized as the most diverse of all schools/colleges of veterinary medicine in the nation. The College's primary mission is to provide an environment that fosters a spirit of active, independent, and self-directed learning, intellectual curiosity, creativity, critical thinking, problem-solving, ethics, and leadership; and promotes teaching, research, and service in veterinary medicine and related disciplines. For more information, visit www.tuskegee.edu/vetmed.

© 2024 Tuskegee University

The Family of Dr. James Heintz receives his award from Dean Perry and President Morris.Dr. James Heintz (center) receives award from Dean Perry and President Morris.Dr. Daniel Negola (center) receives award from Dean Perry and President Morris.Dr. Richard Savino (center) receives award from Dean Perry and President Morris.