First Semester Students Celebrated at White Coat Ceremony

Jan 26, 2023
2023 White Coat Ceremony

On January 16, 2023, Ross University School of Veterinary Medicine (Ross Vet) welcomed members of the class of 2026 to the start of their journey becoming veterinarians at the Spring 2023 White Coat Ceremony.

Family, friends, and Ross Vet community members joined the livestream ceremony offering encouragement and support for over 200 first semester students being honored.

Keynote speaker and Ross Vet faculty member and alumnus, Erik Peterson, DVM ’98, MSc ’21, associate professor and assistant dean of alumni relations, spoke to the first semester cohort about his own journey coming to Ross Vet and the opportunity everyone at Ross Vet has to pursue an opportunity to become a veterinarian.

"Ross Vet gave me the opportunity to be the equine practitioner I wanted to be. Now you have been given the same opportunity to reach your goals and accomplish your dreams but remember you must also take the opportunity and run with it, work for it, and fight for it.”


During the ceremony, students are cloaked in their first white coat and together, as a class, recite the Veterinary Student Oath. The oath stresses the students’ commitment to the process of continuous professional improvement of themselves, their classmates, and the profession of veterinary medicine. It is the moment students pledge themselves to service to animals, humanity, and global health and allows students to recognize individuals who have provided them with support throughout their education. The ceremony also provides an opportunity for faculty to welcome first-year students into Ross Vet’s family.

“We celebrate this at the start of your journey at Ross Vet because we incorporate animal-relate studies and clinically relevant studies right from the beginning of the program,” said Rob Gilbert, BVSc, MMEDVET, DACT, FRCVS, associate dean for academic affairs, speaking to the students just before they put on their white coats. “We regard you from here on as colleagues.”

Congratulations and a warm welcome to all our new Rossies in the class of 2026!


Dr. Peterson attended Virginia Commonwealth University as a Biology major. He continued in his educational endeavors and obtained his Doctorate in Veterinary Medicine (DVM) from Ross Vet in 1998. After a career as an associate veterinarian and equine practice owner in Hudson Valley, New York, Dr. Peterson returned to Ross Vet in 2015 to join the faculty teaching large animal medicine. He recently completed his master’s in science by research (MSc) at Ross Vet in 2021.

Dr. Peterson currently serves as an associate professor, assistant dean of alumni relations, division head of the Essential Veterinary Skills Program, and faculty advisor for the Ross Vet’s Student Chapter of the American Association of Equine Practitioners. Along with his equine medical research interest, Dr. Peterson is also interested in education, communication, and leadership development in veterinary medicine.

Read more on Dr. Peterson’s research publications via ResearchGate.

Watch the Spring 2023 White Coat Ceremony on our Ross Vet YouTube channel.

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