Blue Coat Ceremony celebrates inaugural SDSU Veterinary Medicine students

The first grade of the SDSU Professional Program in Veterinary Medicine was honored at the Blue Coat opening ceremony on Friday November 5, 2021, where students were presented with a personalized Carhartt blue work coat.

“We have carefully selected our first class of students, all of whom are exceptionally intelligent and dedicated to learning the many facets of veterinary medicine,” said Gary Gackstetter, professor and director of the Veterinary Medicine Professional Program. “We are confident that they will all contribute to both animal health and public health across the Upper Midwest. These new blue coats are also a symbol of our trust in these students. “

The coats given to each student represent not only the hard work they have done up to this point in their training, but also the hard work that lies ahead of them as they continue their training in veterinary medicine.

“The Carhartt blue jacket symbolizes the hard work and dedication that the veterinary career program requires,” said Jessica Juarez, assistant professor and assistant director of PPVM. “It’s a way for our students to proudly represent SDSU and each other when they do internships and other jacket-wearing occasions.”

Each coat presented at the ceremony was sponsored by a local veterinarian, a symbol of the support these students can expect as they prepare for the veterinary profession.

“This is perhaps the most unique aspect of the SDSU blue coat ceremony,” said Russ Daly, professor, SDSU expansion veterinarian and state health veterinarian. “A South Dakota vet bought each coat, sometimes for a specific student he was looking after. Not only should this help create or strengthen a bond between the veterinarian and student, it was a symbol of the support these students can expect from the existing South Dakota veterinary community as they begin their careers . “

Veterinary students celebrated at the Blue Mantle opening ceremony include:

  • Maria Aesoph from Orient, South Dakota, sponsored by Dr. John Bode of the Animal Health Center in Faulkton, South Dakota
  • Mackenzie Bartles of Starbuck, Minnesota, sponsored by Dr. David Zeman from Brookings, South Dakota
  • Mariah Beckmann of Slayton, Minnesota, sponsored by Dr. Jennifer Stevens of Horizon Pet Care in Brandon, South Dakota
  • Breanna Brown of Sabin, Minnesota, sponsored by Dr. Olivia Mellgren of Webster Veterinary Clinic in Webster, South Dakota
  • Jana Bruce-Wattier from Sioux Falls, South Dakota, sponsored by Dr. Corale Dorn from Dells Veterinary Services in Dell Rapids, South Dakota
  • Garrett Drum of Faith, South Dakota, sponsored by Dr. Alice Harty from Milesville, South Dakota
  • Alisha Hebl of St. Paul, Minnesota, sponsored by Dr. Dave Barz of Northwest Veterinary Supply in Parkston, South Dakota
  • Kitana Honkola of Eveleth, Minnesota, sponsored by Dr. Greta Krafsur from Brookings, South Dakota
  • Cassie Juberien of Nicollet, Minnesota, sponsored by Dr. William Howard of the Howard Veterinary Clinic in Watertown, South Dakota
  • Renae Kayser from Marion, South Dakota sponsored by Dr. Eric Knock of the Prairie View Veterinary Clinic in Miller, South Dakota
  • Marissa Keenan from South Bend, Indiana sponsored by Dr. Heather Osnes from the Oahe Veterinary Clinic in Pierre, South Dakota
  • Lauren Larson of Mitchell, South Dakota, sponsored by Dr. Heather Lerseth-Fliehs of the Groton Veterinary Clinic in Groton, South Dakota
  • Hayley Leibel of Timber Lake, South Dakota sponsored by Dr. Pat Prusha from the Oahe Veterinary Clinic in Mobridge, South Dakota and Dr. Corale Dorn from Dells Veterinary Service in Dell Rapids, South Dakota
  • Danica Loll from Wahpeton, North Dakota, sponsored by Dr. Jane Hennings from Brookings, South Dakota
  • Shannon McBride from Shevlin, Minnesota, sponsored by Dr. Kay Miller from Fulton, South Dakota
  • Laura Munger from Brookings, South Dakota, sponsored by Dr. Darcee Munster pastry from Northern Plains Animal Health in Aberdeen, South Dakota
  • Lacey Prescott from Franklin, South Dakota sponsored by Dr. Mark Appelhof of Clear Lake Veterinary Clinic in Clear Lake, South Dakota
  • Ana Ruiz from Watertown, South Dakota, sponsored by Dr. Ben Wileman of Select Genetics in Willmar, Minnesota
  • Lauren Skogland of New Richmond, Wisconsin, sponsored by Dr. Cynthia Franklin of the Animal Health Clinic in Yankton, South Dakota
  • Courtney Timmer of Chaska, Minnesota, sponsored by Dr. James McKnight from Brookings, South Dakota

“We are very proud of our students and are excited to begin this new tradition that will be unique to the SDSU Professional Program in Veterinary Medicine,” said John Killefer, South Dakota Corn Endowed Dean of the College of Agriculture, Food and Environmental Sciences. “We are so grateful for the generous support from our vets that has enabled us to start this blue-coat tradition.”

That fall, the first cohort of undergraduates began Veterinary School at SDSU through the Professional Program in Veterinary Medicine in partnership with the University of Minnesota. Students who had completed the required pre-veterinary medicine curriculum could apply for the professional program. Students enrolled in the program complete the first two years of their DVM degree at SDSU, then transfer to the University of Minnesota’s College of Veterinary Medicine for their final two years. To learn more about the program, contact Jessie Juarez, Assistant Director of the SDSU Professional Program in Veterinary Medicine at jessica.juarez@sdstate.edu or visit https://www.sdstate.edu/ppvm.

The SDSU Professional Program in Veterinary Medicine Class of 2025.
Photo credit SDSU College of Agriculture, Food and Environmental Sciences.