Give Something Back to Veterinary Medicine, Speaker Tells Graduates

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.

Guy SheppardSheppard, 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 preserve.”

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 support.

“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.

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