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COLLEGE STATION, May 11, 2006 - Guy Sheppard, president of the
Texas Veterinary Medical Association, urged veterinary medicine
graduates to find ways to give back to their chosen profession and
to remember the great responsibilities they have as animal care
providers during Texas A&M University's College of Veterinary
Medicine & Biomedical Sciences commencement ceremonies Thursday
in Rudder Auditorium.
Sheppard, who earned his DVM degree from Texas A&M in 1978
and has his own practice in San Angelo, told the 125 new Aggie
veterinarians to "be sure and give back to others.
"I know that each of you has been beneficiaries of one or more
mentors and encouragers. You could not have entered or completed
the veterinary educational process without mentors. Please remember
this when young people dreaming of a career in veterinary medicine
approach you. And remember that you are always a role model to
someone. You may never know who is watching and emulating you, but
someone is taking notice of you. Live your life so as not to
disappoint an impressionable young person."
Sheppard also urged graduates to get fully involved in their
profession through service activities and volunteer work.
"As Dr. Elbert Hutchins, executive director of the TVMA, is fond
of saying, 'You have now been handed a profession that you did
nothing to create. It was done for you by dedicated veterinarians
who have gone before you.' It is our duty to make sure that we are
able to hand off a profession to those who enter after us that is
at least as good or better than that which we were handed."
Sheppard added that the new veterinarians cannot hand off an
"improved profession to your successors by simply viewing
veterinary medicine as an occupation and a means to pay your bills.
You have to see it as an heirloom, something to be treasured,
protected and perfected, and it requires much effort to
Sheppard reminded the graduates that they had some help getting
their hard-earned veterinary medicine degrees.
"You did not get here by yourself," he said, "and you will not
progress very far with a 'Lone Ranger' mentality. You are
surrounded by people who have given you all kinds of support
including encouragement, love, inspiration, the freedom to seek
your dreams, financial support and academic and technical
"Tell them 'thank you' with your words and actions, and don't
forget to say it often throughout your life. People love to hear
these words, and if you say them often, you will also get to hear
them in return."
The veterinary medicine graduation was one of five - plus a
commissioning ceremony for the Corps of Cadets - Texas A&M will
hold Thursday through Saturday, with more than 5,500 students
receiving degrees and approximately 40,000 family members expected
to attend the ceremonies.
Angela G. Clendenin
Director, Communications & Public Relations
Ofc - (979) 862-2675
Cell - (979) 739-5718
Texas A&M University, College Station, Texas 77843
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