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Oath and Hooding Graduation Ceremony Held for NC State CVM Class of 2021

Class of 2021
The class of 2021's Erin Wilkins (center) during the NC State College of Veterinary Medicine's Oath and Hooding ceremony May 10. Photo by John Joyner/NC State Veterinary Medicine

In a small, socially distanced gathering in Reynolds Coliseum, the NC State College of Veterinary Medicine graduating class of 2021 celebrated during a special Oath and Hooding ceremony May 10. The abiding theme of the evening was humanity and togetherness.

The class of 96 newly minted veterinarians was joined by seven graduates from offshore institutions — four from St. George’s University and three from Ross University. Each graduate was allowed a maximum of two guests, and all sat in carefully arranged groups of three on the sports facility’s floor while the vast expanse of surrounding spectator seating remained empty. Everyone in attendance wore a protective mask. 

The event was also live-streamed on YouTube.

CVM Dean Paul Lunn welcomed all, noting that the event represented a tentative positive step toward normality. He turned the program over to Laura Nelson, associate dean and director of academic affairs, who delivered the faculty address. 

Nelson noted the class had endured many challenges, spending its final year negotiating the challenges and disruptions of a global pandemic. She complimented the group for its demonstration of compassion, engagement and the support they showed each other. 

“Always remember that you’re human first,” she said, “and it’s the company that makes the journey bearable. You’re all smart. Distinguish yourself by being kind.”

Oath and Hooding photos: Look through a collection of photos from the class of 2021’s graduation ceremony here.

She then introduced Greg Lewbart, professor of aquatic, wildlife and zoological medicine, and Mat Gerard, veterinary anatomy professor, the faculty members selected by the class of 2021 to conduct the hooding ceremony. In a typical year, the faculty members would place the hoods on each graduate, but this time guests accompanying each student put the hood in place after they were introduced. 

Jennifer Jones Shults, a 2009 CVM graduate and president of the North Carolina Veterinary Medical Association, then led the graduates in the recitation of the Veterinarian’s Oath.

CVM Class of 2021
The NC State College of Veterinary Medicine class of 2021.

Class President Trey Cook addressed his fellow graduates, thanking them for their support and hard work during the year and, echoing Nelson’s comments, encouraged them all to stay in touch and remember the importance of empathy and relationships to sustain them through the years.

Lunn concluded the evening, noting that by navigating through a complete final year under pandemic conditions, the class had overcome more challenges than any previous CVM class. He complimented the group on its commitment, tenacity and togetherness. 

“Thanks for your hard work,” he said. “We’re proud of you.”

~Steve Volstad/NC State Veterinary Medicine

Read the full Oath and Hooding program here.

Commencement exercises for the NC State University will be at 7 p.m. May 14 and 9 a.m. May 15 at Carter-Finley Stadium. The CVM Class of 2021 may participate in the May 14 ceremony. Both ceremonies will be live-streamed via and the NC State Facebook page.