White coat ceremonies have become a tradition at many schools of medicine and at veterinary colleges across the country. At these ceremonies, students receive the ultimate symbol of professionalism and empathy in the practice of medicine – the white coat. Cornell adds special meaning to this “rite of passage” in two ways. During the ceremony, veterinarians and faculty who have provided mentorship to students along the way are asked to participate in the ceremony by enrobing their students. Similarly, family and friends who have provided considerable support and special encouragement are asked to pin their student.(A sampling of pictures from the event are below.)
At this year’s event, Dr. Jonathan May, a graduate of the College of Agriculture and Life Sciences and a member of the College’s Class of 1980, offered words of encouragement to the class. He is the president of the alumni association, which is the organization that was instrumental in bringing this ceremony to Cornell in 2001 and continues to provide support.
Dr. Katherine Feldman offered the afternoon’s keynote address. She is the State Public Health Veterinarian and Chief of the Center for Zoonotic and Vector-borne Diseases with the Maryland Department of Health and Mental Hygiene. Dr. Feldman was awarded her veterinary degree from Cornell University and a Master of Public Health degree with an emphasis in epidemiology from the University of California, Berkeley. She is a Diplomate in the American College of Veterinary Preventive Medicine and recently earned her certification in the Epidemiology Specialty of that College. Dr. Feldman has completed two fellowships in applied epidemiology, one with the California Department of Health Services and one with the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. In addition, she was a Fellow in the CDC’s Preventive Medicine Residency Program. Currently, her responsibilities include the surveillance, investigation, and control of zoonoses and vector-borne diseases in Maryland. Her professional interests include public health issues that arise at the human-animal interface; vector-borne diseases; and policy development.
Mary Bellosa, from the Class of 2011, presented three faculty members with awards recognizing excellence in teaching and community service. Dr. Korona Stipetic was honored with the Basic Science Teaching Award of Excellence; Dr. Patty Kirch earned the Clinical Science Teaching Award of Excellence; and Dr. Dwight Bowman earned a new award offered this year that pays tribute to those who are leaders in service to the community.