Commencement 2024 Celebrated

Forty master’s degrees and 98 doctoral degrees awarded
a large group of individuals on commencement day posing for a group photo in their caps and gowns.
Cummings School of Veterinary Medicine's Class of 2024 Graduates. Photo: Jeff Poole, Cummings School of Veterinary Medicine

Cummings School of Veterinary Medicine at Tufts University's 42nd Commencement ceremony was held May 19 on the Grafton campus. One hundred thirty-nine degrees were awarded.

Thirteen students earned a Master of Science in Animals and Public Policy (MAPP), 20 received a Master of Science in Conservation Medicine (MCM), and 7 secured a Master of Science in Infectious Disease and Global Health (MS-IDGH). Lauren K. Borkenhagen. was the recipient of a Doctor of Philosophy, 91 students earned a Doctor of Veterinary Medicine (D.V.M.), four received dual D.V.M./Master of Science in Laboratory Animal Medicine, three received dual D.V.M./Master of Public Health degrees, and four 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 2024.

Caroline Genco, Ph.D., Tufts University provost and senior vice president, congratulated all graduates on behalf of the University, its leadership, and Board of Trustees. 

"Four years ago, many of you started in 2020. You learned how to develop friendships and partnerships, developing a community. You have shown resilience." Dr. Genco thanked all graduates for persevering through a difficult time. 

Dr. Angeline Warner, associate professor of comparative pathobiology, was presented with a faculty emeritus certificate. 

A Q & A with professor emeritus Angeline Warner

Dr. Warner joined Cummings School 21 years ago and served as a faculty member, associate dean of academic affairs, and leader. She founded the dual degree program of a D.V.M. and a Master of Science in Laboratory Animal Medicine and was elected to Cummings School’s Faculty Hall of Fame in 2018.

Representing the M.S. graduates, Jessica Frances Magno, VG23 (MAPP), provided the student address. 

"Our experiences were all different, but I think what we have in common is that drive and passion to help animals in some capacity. I don't think any of us would be here today if we didn't."

"Whether we make a difference via policy, medicine, or investigation, what we learned will help us make that impact."

"We're all here today because we supported one another to become the best version of ourselves. Congratulations to all the master's graduates and D.V.M. graduates. Good luck to everyone on making change in this world." 

M.S. graduates received hoods from Allen Rutberg, Ph.D., associate research professor, Dr. Christopher Whittier, V97, assistant teaching professor, and Adam South, Ph.D., assistant teaching professor, and their degrees from Dean Cribb.

Dr. South presented the M.S. faculty address, sharing, "Words are important. If you haven't already, I urge you to find people whose words, deeds, and actions inspire you. This has been critical to me in my life."

Laura K. Borkehagen, Ph.D., was awarded a Doctor of Philosophy degree in biomedical sciences, with a focus in infectious disease.  

For the D.V.M. class address, Rebecca Sawyer Tirabassi, V24, was selected by her peers for the honor. 

"Class of 2024 - we made it! This class is generous with their time and knowledge. If one of us was going to graduate, we all were going to graduate.” Dr. Tirabassi noted the kindness of the members of the class of 2024, "I hope you never lose this kindness and generosity."  

"Early on, we were labeled a class of complainers. But do you know what I saw? I saw a group of people passionate about their ideas and confident enough to speak out for change. I can't wait to watch you take that passion and those convictions and use them to make animal and human lives better. "

"I have lived a lot of lives, and it has been my privilege to have lived this one with this class." 

Class President Ryan Bixby, V24, presented the Class Gift. In honor of their time at Tufts at Tech Community Veterinary Clinic, the class of 2024's gift is a donation to Cummings School's  Travis Fund. 

Dr. Jennifer Grady, V12, assistant clinical professor, and Dr. Mike Karlin, assistant professor, hooded D.V.M. candidates. Dr. Angie Warner, professor emeritus, presented the Master of Science in Laboratory Medicine diplomas, and Dr. Meera Gatlin, V16, MG16, presented D.V.M./Master of Public Health diplomas. D.V.M. candidates received their degrees from Dr. Melissa Mazan, V93, associate dean for professional education.

Dr. Lois Wetmore, associate professor, gave the D.V.M. faculty address. 

"Almost four years ago, I met you on your first day of vet school, on Zoom. And now, we are here on your last day. When you started in 2020, during that time of uncertainty, you put your trust in us. We are grateful for that."

Dr. Wetmore noted three things that have sustained her over the last forty years in veterinary medicine. Three points that are not taught in vet school. Be curious. Do kind things for others. Forgive yourself. 

"Being curious means you are full of possibility. It makes you a better listener, helps you let go of implicit bias that we all struggle with, and helps you be a better learner. It changes how you think and practice, makes you confident."

In closing, she noted, "We will miss you. We are proud to have you join this team. Begin the next stage of your career with our admiration and best wishes for success, well-being, and happiness. Good luck and congratulations." 

Massachusetts Veterinary Medical Association (MVMA) President Monica Mansfield, D.V.M., welcomed the graduates into the profession and led them and veterinarians in the audience in the recitation of the Veterinarian's Oath, as follows:

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 asked all graduates to stand and move their tassels from right to left. "I am proud to present our graduates." 

He thanked all faculty, staff, and guests for celebrating and supporting the Class of 2024 and congratulated the members of the class. "Thank you for being a part of Cummings School's community. We welcome you as our alumni and colleagues. Be proud and stay a part of us. Good luck with the exciting challenges ahead of you. Follow your heart, follow your dreams." 

Student achievement awards

At the Dean's Dinner, held May 17, graduating students received annual achievement awards. Thirty-two awards were presented.

Faculty excellence awards

At the Dean's Dinner on May 17, four faculty members were recognized with awards of excellence.

Honos Civicus Society

Seven 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 Jada Kelis Ford, VG24, Kaitlin Leigh Amara, V24, Alexandra Sara Awad, V24, Meaghan Lee Burrows, V24, Diana Marissa Chan, V24, Hayley Hall, V24, and Cassandra Bailey Munroe, V24. 

Commencement 2024

Our students are ready to begin their next adventure. We’ve enjoyed being a part of their journeys and celebrate their accomplishments.