The Wisconsin State Capitol was the backdrop for the WVMA class of 2022 Blue Coat Ceremony, held on the Monona Terrace rooftop on April 18. And what a beautiful day it was – thankfully – as regulations did not allow for an indoor back-up plan!
The theme of the ceremony was resilience. The University of Wisconsin School of Veterinary Medicine (UW SVM) third-year students celebrated this milestone despite overcoming the challenges brought on by COVID-19. Student speeches outlined the positive learning and camaraderie, even with virtual learning and canceled hands-on activities.
For the first time, the WVMA hosted the Blue Coat Ceremony outdoors. Students followed safety guidelines (masking, social distancing, etc.). Eighty-six of the 89 students of the class of 2022 attended. All had negative COVID test results within the three days prior to the event, and by using the Safer Badger app, all were screened and able to attend.
During the ceremony, the students were presented their blue coats, signifying the end of classes and the beginning of clinical rotations. Speakers at the event included WVMA President Dr. Tom Bach, UW SVM Dean Mark Markel, Dr. Nate Haas, Dr. Heidi Kellihan and veterinary student Alexa Bertz.
“Having this chance to celebrate was so important to the class of 2022 because we got to remind ourselves of who we are together and who we are becoming,” says Jon Young, third-year veterinary student and outgoing WVMA Board member. “It was a chance to reimagine what we came here to do. When I saw my classmates – people who I’ve counted on for ideas,
encouragement, and strength – put on their blue coats for the first time, I couldn’t help but think of the amazing veterinarians they will become. I think seeing ourselves this way is what the Blue Coat Ceremony is all about.”
Although family and friends were not able to join the students in person due to local and University guidelines, the event was streamed live and more than 400 tuned in to watch.
“It was a beautiful day in a beautiful location for a much-deserved celebration for the class of 2022,” says Dr. Bach. “I was so happy to see the class smiling and laughing together.”
The class of 2022 Blue Coat Ceremony would not have been possible without the generous support of our sponsors: Hill’s Pet Nutrition, Standard Process and VCA Animal Hospitals. The WVMA was thrilled to host the event and be part of the students’ special day.