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AVMA President to RUSVM Class of 2016: "You’re Our Future"

"The AVMA will be there for you, every step of the way," AVMA president tells the RUSVM Class of 2016.


The future of veterinary medicine has never been brighter.

That was the sentiment expressed by Joseph Kinnarney, DVM, MS, president of the American Veterinary Medical Association (AVMA), delivered to the cap-and-gown-clad members of the Ross University School of Veterinary Medicine (RUSVM) graduating Class of 2016 on May 21. More than 270 students were awarded their Doctor of Veterinary Medicine diplomas, flanked and supported by family members, friends, and RUSVM faculty and staff.

“Never in the history of our world have there been more opportunities for veterinarians, and veterinary students, than there [are] today,” Kinnarney said. “Together, we can work to protect, promote, and advance this honorable profession and make it stronger, for both today and tomorrow.”

“The AVMA Will Be There for You”

And according to Kinnarney, RUSVM graduates have the support of one more important group: the AVMA itself.

“The AVMA will be there for you, every step of the way,” he said. “You’re our future—the next generation of veterinarians. I’m confident you’re up to the task, and will fulfill your duties with honor, dignity, and grace.”

The AVMA is a nonprofit association that represents more than 85,000 US veterinarians, and serves as the US Department of Education’s recognizing accrediting body for veterinary education. In 2000, Kinnarney recalled, he made the first AVMA trip to RUSVM’s St. Kitts campus. Upon his return, he had one message for his AVMA colleagues: “Don’t knock it until you’ve been there. Because they’re great.”

“I’ve been a supporter of you, the faculty, and [RUSVM] graduates ever since,” he said. “We’re your go-to, your contact, your guide and your advocate.”

Making a Difference in Animal and Human Health

Guy St. Jean, RUSVM interim dean, stressed that veterinary medicine touches more than animal health.

“We are privileged as veterinarians,” St. Jean said. “The education you have received provides you with the opportunity to not just influence animal health, but human health. I can predict that many of you will participate in making a difference for society—our global society—and I cannot wait to learn about what you will accomplish next.”

Kinnarney, the AVMA president, echoed those sentiments in his speech.

“You’re our future—our next generation of veterinarians, and tomorrow’s leaders in veterinary medicine. We’re proud of the goals you have set, and the desire you have shown to serve both animals and people in a changing world,” he said.

What you’ll be doing in the veterinary profession matters, Kinnarney said in closing. It makes a difference.

“Together, we’re making a positive difference in animals’ and people’s lives,” Kinnarney said. “Together, we can help make the veterinary profession better than how we found it. And together, we can work to protect, promote, and advance this honorable profession and make it stronger, for both today and tomorrow.”

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