Class of 2020 gathers to celebrate delayed hooding and commencement ceremonies
After 16 months, the Cornell University College of Veterinary Medicine (CVM) Class of 2020 was able to celebrate the closing of their Cornell training with an in-person hooding celebration Saturday, Sept. 18 and commencement Sunday, Sept. 19.
While the Class of 2020 did have a virtual celebration in the spring of 2020, the university committed to seeing through an in-person event.
On Saturday, 17 members of the class gathered in Takoda’s Run atrium within the college, where they were welcomed by Lorin D. Warnick, D.V.M, Ph.D. ’94, the Austin O. Hooey Dean of Veterinary Medicine.
“I want to congratulate each of you in the Class of 2020 on completing your degree and for your first year out as a doctor of Veterinary Medicine,” Warnick said. “That is in amazing accomplishment in any circumstances and especially with the added challenge of the COVID-19 pandemic. Speaking for all of us at the college, we are proud of your achievements.”
Warnick acknowledged the many challenges that the graduates and so many others experienced during the past year and a half, including pandemic losses, racial injustices and environmental crises. He then reflected on how the college has adapted to the new normal that the COVID-19 pandemic created. “I have a great deal of gratitude for the dedication and hard work of so many in our community who worked constantly keep our college’s missions and essential public services going through the pandemic,” he said.
Following the dean’s speech, Dr. Daniel Fletcher, associate professor in the section of emergency and critical care and winner of the Zoetis Teacher Award for that year, took the stage to speak to the Class of 2020, which had nominated him. Fletcher told the class that the award was the highlight of his career and relayed the importance of setting healthy work-life boundaries.
Next, Warnick and Jai Sweet, Ph.D. '96, assistant dean for student services and admissions, recognized the class as doctors of veterinary medicine. The class stood together to then recite the Veterinarian’s Oath, led by Associate Dean for Education, Jodi Korich, D.V.M. ’97.
As the ceremony ended, Warnick thanked the graduates and all those who supported them. “I want to thank everyone who prepared this event, those who participated,” he said. “I’m sure all of the graduates would join me in expressing thanks to each of the family members, friends, pets and other supporters for the critical role each you played in their success.”
The following day, CVM graduates joined their fellow Cornellians to celebrate commencement, where President Martha Pollack addressed the crowd of around 2,000 graduates and 4,000 guests: “I know that some of us felt this day might never come – but here we are. I am just so incredibly glad to have you here today, celebrating your Cornell commencement the way a Cornell commencement should be celebrated: on Schoellkopf Field, in caps and gowns, on one of those always-sunny Ithaca days.”
Written by Lauren Cahoon Roberts