Story by Megan Myers
At Texas A&M, selfless service is one of the six core values that unite every member of the Aggie Network. With volunteering opportunities ranging from Big Event to those driven by numerous student organizations, Aggies find many ways to give back to the local community and beyond.
For Daniel Anthony, a fourth-year veterinary student at the College of Veterinary Medicine & Biomedical Sciences (CVM), selfless service is one of the most defining aspects of his life. In fact, it’s a family tradition.
Anthony’s family has been in the restaurant business since 1912. During the Great Depression, his great-grandfather opened a soup kitchen behind his café and gave away most of his income to feed hungry neighbors.
This practice of caring for the community continued in the 1960s with Anthony’s grandfather, who was the first restaurant-owner to desegregate his eatery in the family’s hometown of San Antonio.
“He started a movement across all of the big restaurant chains in Texas to desegregate,” Anthony said. “Although it was not the popular opinion or decision at the time, he thought it was the right thing to do.”
Today, Anthony sees his grandfather, who graduated from Texas A&M in 1943, as his main inspiration for pursuing a life of selfless service. He even wears his grandfather’s Aggie ring, which is so worn down that the iconic symbols aren’t recognizable.
“I wanted to be an Aggie because of those qualities that the school has, the pillars of excellence,” Anthony said. “I thought my grandfather perfectly utilized them in his life and I wanted to make my life very similar, or at least lead by his example in veterinary medicine.
“Service, to me, is the ultimate platform of my family values, to give back and serve the community,” he said. “While they do it by food, I want to do it through this profession.
“To me, there’s nothing more special than connection with people,” he said. “I think it’s a double bonus being a veterinarian because the human-animal bond is so strong—it’s even more of an impact being there for people.”
At the CVM, Anthony serves as president of the Doctor of Veterinary Medicine (DVM) Class of 2021, working with his officer team to organize events for the class and promote the needs of his fellow veterinary students.
“I really wanted to challenge myself and I knew that one day I wanted to own a practice and lead a community,” Anthony said. “I wanted to get the tools to learn how to lead and manage people and also be there to serve our class.”
With Anthony’s class being the first to experience a redesigned DVM curriculum, he was especially determined to make sure his classmates had the tools they needed to be successful.
“I knew that a positive culture and a growth mindset were going to be really important for that process,” he said.
In fall 2019, Anthony and his fellow officers decided to further that positive culture by supporting veterinary students outside of the CVM as well. When they heard about the passing of Samantha Lin, a fourth-year veterinary student at the North Carolina State College of Veterinary Medicine, they decided to create a large condolence card to be signed by CVM students, faculty, and staff.
“That was to bridge the veterinary school community together,” Anthony said. “Unfortunately, it’s over grief, but hopefully we can shed some positive light onto Samantha’s story and who she was. When I presented that to our class, I made sure people knew more about Samantha and let her legacy shine on through Texas.
“Anything to bind our veterinary community together is something I’m passionate about,” he said.
Anthony is also a member of the White Coats Program at the CVM, which works to foster a positive culture within the college.
This program, working with the Professional Programs Office, represents and promotes the CVM during admissions interviews, orientation for incoming veterinary students and other student-centered events, graduation, alumni events, and community outreach events.
As one of the inaugural White Coats, Anthony has helped shape the program into what it is today.
“What drew me to it was that it was all about giving back,” he said. “I feel like if you don’t go through life without helping those who helped you or helping someone else get to the position you’re at, then that, to me, is not success. Success is giving back and reaching up and helping a larger group of people get to where they need to go.”
After graduation, Anthony plans to open his own small animal clinic and connect with the larger veterinary community by getting involved in the Texas Veterinary Medical Association (TVMA).
“My vision is that when someone walks into my clinic, they have this amazing experience and their animal is able to get the services it needs, but they also come out feeling better than when they came in,” he said. “I’m really going to want to emphasize quality service and make sure that the medicine is the best it can be.”
He also looks forward to serving those in his future community by finding ways to pass on what he has learned about both veterinary medicine and selfless service.
“I want to carry on a lot of these things I’ve learned in veterinary school and get involved with the high schools,” he said. “I would love to go in and do some presentations to get kids interested in veterinary medicine and show them what this profession’s really about.
“I want to let people know that veterinarians aren’t just here for animals, we’re here for the community, as well.”
Contact Information: Jennifer Gauntt, Director of CVM Communications, Texas A&M College of Veterinary Medicine & Biomedical Sciences; firstname.lastname@example.org; 979-862-4216