D.V.M. Class of 2025 celebrates White Coat Ceremony

On Saturday, May 4, 2024, the Cornell University College of Veterinary Medicine (CVM) held its annual White Coat Ceremony, marking the transition of the Veterinary Class of 2025 to fourth-year clinical rotations.

The ceremony takes its name from the iconic white coat worn by medical professionals, and serves as a physical reminder of the students’ responsibilities as future veterinarians — to balance scientific excellence with compassionate patient care.

Dean Warnick at podium
“Your clinical education will be foundational to your future work." - Lorin D. Warnick, D.V.M., Ph.D. '94, the Austin O. Hooey Dean of Veterinary Medicine.

Before the coating ceremony, Lorin D. Warnick, D.V.M., Ph.D. '94, the Austin O. Hooey Dean of Veterinary Medicine, welcomed the students and their families to Bailey Hall on Cornell’s campus.

“Your clinical education will be foundational to your future work,” Warnick said. “Employers and the public look to veterinarians to understand the scientific basis of health and disease, to advise them on preventive medicine, to know the processes of diagnosis and treatment, the transmission of infectious diseases and the intersection of the health of animals in the environment.”

He went on to note that the Class of 2025 will benefit from the recent updates to CVM’s clinical curriculum. “You’ll have a new evaluation system that really emphasizes actionable feedback and growth in skills and knowledge,” he said.

Warnick stressed the importance of three key principles as the students continued on their professional path: ethical behavior, working well in teams and continuous learning. “These, and other professional obligations, should become second nature as you take this next step in your education.”

Next, Warnick welcomed Jai Sweet, Ph.D. ’96, assistant dean of veterinary services, who officiated the coating ceremony. The audience looked on and applauded as each individual member of the Class of 2025 took to the stage to receive their official Cornell white coat from a chosen mentor. 

student standing in auditorium
Members of the Class of 2025 waiting to be coated. 

After this, Mara DiGrazia '92, D.V.M. '96, president of the Alumni Association Executive Board, took the stage to address the crowd.

“When you’re finished with your rotations, you’ll be a competent, hardworking, intelligent, compassionate veterinarian, in any field you decide to dive into,” DiGrazia said. “Our extensive network of Cornell alumni will always be here for you.”

She then led the newly-coated class in reciting the Veterinarian’s Oath, as follows:

Following the oath reciting, keynote speaker Niccole Bruno, D.V.M. '06, founder of blendVET™, gave the official address to the class.

“As a third-year student in 2004, I could have never fathomed that I would be standing here on this stage in this capacity,” Bruno said. “It speaks to life’s unexpected twists and turns and the incredible opportunities they offer.”

She went on note the important role the students would go on to play in their careers. “As future veterinarians, you will soon realize that our profession is not about the medicine we practice, but equally about the people we serve and the diverse teams we work alongside,” she said. “Being a veterinarian is inherently a leadership role. And our leadership reflects the values and principles we hold dear. It is crucial to lead from a place of authenticity, and to create an environment where everyone feels a sense of belonging.”

Niccole Bruno
Keynote speaker Niccole Bruno, D.V.M. '06.

Bruno’s speech was followed by the presentation of the John F. Cummings Memorial Award to Emily Lynne Davis, Class of 2025. The scholarship recognizes a student who has demonstrated clear and outstanding academic achievement in the study of veterinary medicine or comparative medicine.

The ceremony wrapped up with director of the Cornell University Hospital for Animals, Dr. Meg Thompson, welcoming the class to the hospital, and with final closing remarks from Warnick, who invited students and their family and friends to gather for a reception at Takoda’s Run Atrium at the college.

Wearing their new, bright-white coats, the Class of 2025 filed back out of the auditorium to the thunderous applause of the onlookers, and into the sunshine to start the next step of their veterinary journey.

Women taking selfies in their white coats outside
Third-year students celebrated after the ceremony with friends and family.

Written by Lauren Cahoon Roberts

Photos by Darcy Rose Video