Commencement 2023 Celebrated

Forty-seven master’s degrees and 100 doctoral degrees awarded
graduates in their caps and gowns posing for a group picture on the lawn. A number of them are waving at the camera.
Photo: Bethany Versoy for Cummings School of Veterinary Medicine

Cummings School of Veterinary Medicine at Tufts University’s 41st Commencement ceremony was held May 21 under a large tent on the Grafton campus. Forty-seven master’s degrees, 100 doctoral degrees and three postgraduate certificates were awarded.

graduate students in their caps and gowns walking to the ceremony
Photo: Jodi Hilton for Tufts University
Masters student getting robbed at graduation ceremony by a female faculty
Photo: Jodi Hilton for Tufts University

Fourteen students earned a Master of Science (M.S.) in Animals and Public Policy, 21 received an M.S. in Conservation Medicine, and 12 secured an M.S. in Infectious Disease and Global Health.

Jonathon D. Gass, Jr. was the recipient of a Doctor of Philosophy, 94 students earned a Doctor of Veterinary Medicine (D.V.M.), five received dual D.V.M./Master of Public Health degrees, and three students secured a postgraduate certificate in International Veterinary Medicine.

In his welcoming remarks, Dean Alastair Cribb thanked faculty, administrative staff, and all employees for their contributions to and support of the Class of 2023.

Caroline Genco, Ph.D., Tufts University provost and senior vice president ad interim, congratulated the Class of 2023 on behalf of the University, its leadership, and Board of Trustees. 

Graduate student wearing black cap and gown speaking at a podium
Photo: Jodi Hilton for Tufts University

Representing the M.S. Class of 2023, Christina DeJoseph, VG22, provided the student address. “Completing one of our three programs is a triumph, one that is signified by dedication, determination and depth of thought,” she said to her classmates. “It is not just in our bright and vibrant futures that we will make a difference, but in today that we are making that difference.”

After the M.S. graduates received their degrees and hoods, Emily McCobb, V00, VG02, associate clinical professor of clinical sciences, presented the M.S. faculty address. “I have hope for the future [which] comes from the inspiration that these graduates have shown me,” she explained. “The students that I work with every day and all of those graduating today have the intelligence, understanding of science, and skill set to secure a future for all of us and the animals and environment we love.”

For the D.V.M. class address, Raina D’Orazio, V23 was selected by her peers for the honor. “Our shared gift is in compassion that is directed inward, toward ourselves, each other, and the greater veterinary community. I challenge us all to never lose that and to maintain the humility, vulnerability, and sense of humor that it requires. I believe that we can take what we’ve cultivated as V23s and create more compassionate and fun workplaces.”

For its Class Gift to Cummings School, the V23 Class was represented by co-presidents Lauren Boggs and Krishana Raghubeer. They shared that the Class donated two gifts. The first was an easily accessible area of turf adjacent to the patient wards for visiting pets to relieve themselves … a significant upgrade over current conditions. The second gift was a donation of the remainder of class funds to the Travis Fund, which provides financial assistance for the care of stray animals and subsidizes treatment costs for pets whose owners cannot afford it.

Graduate student getting robbed on stage by a female with long blond hair.
Photo: Jodi Hilton for Tufts University

Following the presentation of the D.V.M. degrees and the hooding of the graduates, Assistant Professor of Comparative Pathobiology Francisco Conrado gave the D.V.M. faculty address. Selected by the Class of 2023 for this task, Dr. Conrado serves as faculty co-chair of Tufts Veterinary Council on Diversity. 

“You are all forever learners,” he said. “…I hope we taught you how to say ‘I don’t know’ with confidence and to look up answers with your chin up.” Conrado also advised the class to “Dance to the beat of your own drum … you are all so unique, so interesting, and so talented, I can’t wait to see where life is going to take you and the humans you are going to become.” 

Representing the Massachusetts Veterinary Medical Association (MVMA), President Monica Mansfield, D.V.M., welcomed the graduates into the profession. “The most important things you can ever do are to be kind and patient with the humans around you and to take good care of your own spirits and your emotional well-being,” she shared. After inviting the graduates to become active members of the professional organization, Mansfield led the graduating class in reciting the Veterinarian’s Oath, as follows:

Black female graduate student shaking hands with the Dean while receiving her diploma. Both are wearing caps and gowns.
Photo: Jodi Hilton for Tufts University

“Being admitted to the profession of veterinary medicine, I solemnly swear to use my scientific knowledge and skills for the benefit of society through the protection of animal health and welfare, the prevention and relief of animal suffering, the conservation of animal resources, the promotion of public health, and the advancement of medical knowledge.

“I will practice my profession conscientiously, with dignity, and in keeping with the principles of veterinary medical ethics.

“I accept as a lifelong obligation the continual improvement of my professional knowledge and competence.”

In closing, Dean Cribb thanked all faculty, staff, and guests for celebrating the Class of 2023 and congratulated the members of the class. “We welcome you now as our alumni and our colleagues, and in the spirit of Tufts please remember to support those around you, be part of the solutions this world needs, and give back to your community. Be proud and stay a part of us.” 

Honos Civicus Society
Six graduates were named to the Honos Civicus Society, recognizing graduating students who have demonstrated an exceptional commitment to community service and civic engagement during their studies. Completion of an application is required for students to be considered among those who have good academic and professional standing, an outstanding record of professionalism and ethical behavior, and demonstrated leadership and dedication. 

New Honos Civicus inductees are Christina DeJoseph VG22, Jessica Hirsch V23, Ari Del Carmen Huenchunir V23, Brooke Robinson V23, Samantha Scott V23, and Kathryn Shaffert V23.

Student achievement awards

At the Dean’s Dinner, held May 19, graduating students received annual achievement awards. Thirty-one awards were presented, led by William Orrico, who received three. Double award recipients were Caroline Buckley, Samantha Dolan, Kat King, Kathryn Shaffert, and Ben Wasik.




Faculty excellence awards

At the Dean’s Dinner, four faculty members were recognized with awards of excellence: Drs. Claire Fellman, Rachel Prestigiacomo, Patrick Skelly, and Saul Tzipori.