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Dear Faculty, Staff, and Students:
Spring finals are over and our second and third year students are now on summer break, while our fourth year students continue in their clinical rotations. It will be a short summer. With the university’s switch to semesters taking place on June 18, and fall semester beginning on August 22, summer will be one month shorter than in past years.
This past weekend marked important events for our graduating seniors: Honors and Awards, Oath and Hooding, and Commencement. On Saturday morning, we held the Honors and Awards event at the Fawcett Center for the first time. Previously, this event took place in our own VMC auditorium, and last year it became apparent that we had outgrown that space. In addition to recognizing students who excelled in their rotations, and favorite faculty members who were nominated by students, we also welcomed a new class of Phi Zeta honorees. You can check our home page for a new banner story with a list of all the winners. On Saturday evening, we enjoyed our annual Oath and Hooding ceremony. This is a momentous occasion for our graduates and their families. I understand that we had a record-high number of faculty participants, and I want to thank each of them for their support of our students and their accomplishments. The festivities were upbeat and fun, including a performance by our own chorus, “The Hoofbeats.” The 139 new veterinarians have joined the 8,388 alumni of our college in this great profession. Thanks to our staff in our Student Affairs Office for putting these events together: Sandra Dawkins, April Pugh, Shayna Mohr, Dr. Jennifer Brandt, and Dr. Linda Lord, and Anissa Thomas from my office.
On Sunday, the events continued with a recognition breakfast for our Distinguished Alumni and Faculty Award winners, followed by The Ohio State University Commencement. President Gee stopped by our breakfast at the Faculty Club, and then mentioned one of our graduates during his commencement speech, Dr. Ryan Lukens, and Ryan’s wife Dr. Jessica Lukens. Ryan is a fourth-generation veterinarian; his great-grandfather Dr. William Lukens graduated with his DVM from Ohio State 100 years ago - in 1912. Ryan’s great uncle, William Lukens, graduated in 1938. In 1980, Ryan’s father, William Lukens, received his DVM. According to my calculations, the next Dr. Lukens will graduate in about 2039 or so!
The Commencement ceremony was historic: it was the 400th Ohio State graduation ceremony, and marks the end of quarters at our university. I was proud to see our seniors continue the tradition of helium-filled exam gloves easily visible in the crowd of more than 60,000 in the stadium. A record number 10,642 degrees were conferred on a “cool event on a hot day” according to President Gee. The Commencement address was delivered by Susan E. Rice, U.S. Permanent Representative to the United Nations.
Last week our college was a proud participant in the naming of the Ohio Agricultural Research and Development Center’s (OARDC) Plant and Animal Agrosecurity Research Facility (PAAR) in honor of longtime U.S. Representative Ralph Regula who served the 16th Congressional District for 36 years. He was an early supporter of the project and helped secure federal funding for the $22 million building, which is designated as Biosafety Level 3 (BSL-3). It is the only one in Ohio and the third --- in the country be able to handle plant and animal research.
I hope you have a great summer!
Dean Lonnie King