Cummings School of Veterinary Medicine Hosts 33rd Commencement

NORTH GRAFTON, Mass., May 11, 2015 –William S. and Joyce M. Cummings, founders of Cummings Foundation, philanthropists and the namesakes of Cummings School of Veterinary Medicine at Tufts University, will deliver remarks at the school’s graduation on May 17, 2015. William Cummings is also a trustee emeritus of Tufts University. 

Cummings Foundation made a $50 million investment in the veterinary school and 10 years ago the school was renamed in recognition of the gift. Cummings Foundation’s support of the school’s One Health mission has resulted in the creation of programs such as an ambulatory clinic in Rwanda with on-site diagnostic capability and professional development opportunities for veterinarians and para-veterinarians.

Graduates and their families will also be greeted by Cummings School Dean Deborah T. Kochevar, D.V.M., Ph.D.; Tufts University Provost and Senior Vice President David R. Harris, Ph.D.; and John H. de Jong, D.V.M., university trustee and member of Cummings School board of advisors.  The student speaker is Sean James Gaw. Claire Sharp, B.V.M.S., assistant professor of clinical sciences, will give the faculty address. Adam Arzt, V.M.D., president of the Massachusetts Veterinary Medical Association, will be administering the Veterinarian’s Oath. 

The commencement exercises will celebrate the accomplishments of 95 D.V.M. candidates, some of whom have earned additional degrees:

  • - one will also receive a master of arts;
  • - four will also receive master’s degrees in public health; and
  • - six will also receive a master of science in laboratory animal medicine.

Cummings School will also be graduating 13 students with masters in animals and public policy and 14 with masters in conservation medicine.

Joyce Knoll, V.M.D., Ph.D., associate professor of biomedical sciences, and Lluis Ferrer, L.V., Ph.D., professor of clinical sciences, will be honored with the Zoetis Animal Health awards for distinguished teaching and research excellence, respectively.  In accordance with tradition, retiring faculty will be recognized with the emeritus/a distinction. This year’s honorees are Arthur Donohue-Rolfe, Ph.D., associate professor of biomedical sciences; Mary Rose Paradis, D.V.M., associate professor of clinical sciences; Mark A. Pokras, D.V.M., associate professor of infectious disease and global health; and George Saperstein, D.V.M., Amelia Peabody Professor of Agricultural Science.

The ceremony will also feature the presentation of the Artemis Award, which recognizes clinical excellence and was established by trustee emeritus Alfred Tauber, M.D. This year’s award will be given to Alfredo Sanchez Londoño, M.V., associate professor of environmental and population health.  Keith M. Astrofsky, D.V.M., is the recipient of the school’s Henry E. Childers Award, which honors part-time instructors who have made extraordinary contributions to educating veterinary students.

The commencement ceremony will be held at 3 p.m. at Cummings School’s Grafton campus at 200 Westboro Road at the Agnes Varis Campus Center (building 16 on the campus map: It will follow Tufts' all-university commencement ceremony to be held at 9 a.m. on Tufts' Medford/Somerville campus (

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About Cummings School of Veterinary Medicine at Tufts University

Founded in 1978 in North Grafton, Mass., Cummings School of Veterinary Medicine at Tufts University is internationally esteemed for academic programs that impact society and the practice of veterinary medicine; three hospitals and four clinics that combined log more than 80,000 animal cases each year; and groundbreaking research that benefits animal, public, and environmental health.



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