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KNOXVILLE—After devoting four years to completing their degrees within the College of Veterinary Medicine at the University of Tennessee, Knoxville, three graduates will segue into a life of service.

Renee Womack
Renee Womack

Renee Womack, Peggy Hsu, and Whitney Vickery are graduating this week as doctors of veterinary medicine and will then join the ranks of the US Army Veterinary Corps.

The College of Veterinary Medicine convocation and hooding ceremony will be held at 10:00 a.m. on Saturday, May 12, in the James R. Cox Auditorium of the Alumni Memorial Building. These students will be commissioned at the War Dog Memorial on the UT agricultural campus following the conclusion of the college’s hooding ceremony.

Through the US Army’s Health Professions Scholarship Program, three years of the students’ education were paid for in exchange for three years of active duty immediately after graduation.

US Army veterinarians conduct and oversee veterinary service activities within the Department of Defense at installations from Washington, DC, to Hawaii and in more than ninety countries around the world. As Army vets, the students’ jobs will include tending to family-owned pets, military working dogs, ceremonial horses and wildlife on base; working with stray animal facilities; and helping with third-world relief programs.

Renee Womack comes from a military family, so joining the ranks was not a big stretch for her.

Peggy Hsu
Peggy Hsu

“I found out about the US Army Vet Corps after my interview with the college, and the more I found out, the more I liked. I liked the benefits and the idea that I will be able to run my own clinic on base. I am currently a second lieutenant, but will be promoted to a captain,” Womack said.

“I am obligated for a three-year active duty return payback, but I decided to also do a one-year internship with the military before beginning active service. The internship will be at a large clinic on joint base Lewis-McChord in Tacoma, Washington, where I will rotate through different services, including food inspection.”

Peggy Hsu said she decided to join the Army for financial reasons and because she has lived abroad and loves the prospect of traveling as an Army vet. She is working on a dual-degree program for her Doctor of Veterinary Medicine and Master of Public Health degrees.

“Overall, I thought joining the Army was a great opportunity to learn and explore different possibilities,” Hsu said. “At this time, I do not know if I will stay on for my entire career, but who knows? I have already had some awesome opportunities with the Army through basic training, meeting great people, and participating in externships back home, like one with the Navy Marine Mammal Program.”

Hsu will be stationed at Fort Stewart near Savannah, Georgia, and be in charge of the clinic on base.

C O N T A C T :

Amy Blakely (865-771-9127,