For second-year veterinary students at Texas A&M University, the month of April symbolizes final exams, the nearing of summer and the celebration of
a white lab coat.
The College of Veterinary & Biomedical Sciences’ (CVM) annual White Coat Ceremony acknowledges students’ transition from classroom study to clinical work. Surrounded by friends, family and fellow classmates, all second-year CVM students receive their first professional white lab coats to celebrate their dedication and commitment to higher education.
“The ceremony symbolizes advancing to the next chapter,” said second-year CVM student Nicole Bertolini ’18, who received her white coat in April 2016. “Extreme optimism and pride radiates from every individual. It means we’ve survived our first two years of veterinary school, and we have the opportunity to grow into more effective professionals.”
In addition to celebrating students’ hard work, the ceremony honors the late Dr. Jeanne Fairweather, nicknamed the “white coat doctor.” An Aggie by heart, Fairweather graduated from Incarnate Word College in San Antonio and the University of Texas Medical School in Galveston but made her way to Aggieland after meeting Dr. O.J. “Bubba” Woytek ’65, assistant vice president for development at the CVM.
Fairweather’s relationship with Texas A&M began almost 15 years ago, but her legacy and spirit live on past her lifetime. Her selflessness, dedication to animals and support of students enabled her to make a significant impact both on the university and the future of veterinary medicine.
In an effort to further support future Aggie veterinarians, Fairweather established a charitable bequest in her will benefiting the Texas A&M Foundation. Following her passing in 2005, the “White Coat Endowment” began providing student scholarships and a professional lab coat to every student who completes their first two years of veterinary school.
A charitable bequest allows you to retain assets during your lifetime, lessen the burden of taxes on your family and support Texas A&M. With the help of an adviser, you can include bequest language in your will or trust specifying that a gift be made to the Texas A&M Foundation as part of your estate plan.
In one correspondence to students, Dr. Fairweather wrote, “It is so important to always be professional in appearance and actions. Putting on the white coat should remind you of the honor and privilege you have to become part of the veterinary profession and part of the Texas A&M College of Veterinary Medicine & Biomedical Sciences’ legacy.”
“To me, my white coat stands for true accomplishment,” said Bertolini. “Every time I put it on, I remember all of the barriers I conquered and how far I’ve come as a student and an individual.”
Fairweather’s planned gift gives students the opportunity to make great strides in veterinary science. Her endowment provides Texas A&M veterinarians the confidence and support to continue their education, as well as the reminder that being part of a legacy as special as the one at Texas A&M is an incredible feat.
“My time at Texas A&M has developed me into a strong, confident leader,” said Bertolini. “After seven academic years here, I’ve matured tremendously since the first time I stepped foot on campus as an undergraduate. I have transformed into a self-assured, proud and knowledgeable professional student, and that’s because of opportunities I’ve received at Texas A&M.”
Have you already created a gift like Jennifer Lindsay? If so, fill out our Heritage Membship form so we can thank you properly!