“We are made wise not by the recollection of our past, but by the responsibility for our future.” — George Bernard Shaw

The holiday season marks not only a joyous time to celebrate the past year, but the beginning of a new year with all of its promise and hopes for the future. For UC Davis Veterinary Medicine, the past year has been a mixture of tremendous accomplishments and extreme sadness. We have opened new avenues to understand diseases that impact our society and battled disasters in our backyard. Our teachers inspired a new generation of students and learned from them in the process. The contrasts are striking between the extreme optimism of the next generation we are privileged to teach, and the problems we struggle with on a daily basis.

Our plans are made and then disrupted by the reality of the constantly changing world around us. While our beliefs are strong, we are shaken by the stark reality that our democracy faces unprecedented challenges from those who believe scientific facts are a matter of belief versus sound principles of inquiry. As we look to the future we are reminded how connected the world is and how events are part of an interwoven story that connects us to each other and the natural world.

As we envision the future, we are reminded of that connection. Our School is in a privileged position to influence the health of animals and people, while understanding the connections we all have with the environment we must share. Our scientists have unraveled the hidden sources of possible future pandemics and uncovered new treatments for diseases that plague us. We are building new centers that will transform our approach to veterinary medicine and bring transdisciplinary approaches to unravel the complexity of life’s processes and stimulate our students to be lifelong learners.

Into the uncertainty of the future, we have created a new strategic plan to address our core mission and reinforce our shared values. Our global leadership position in veterinary sciences and the education of the next generation of veterinarians and scientists means we must face this responsibility by bringing our talents, ideas, and passion to our work on a daily basis.

I am constantly motivated by our collective strength to face our challenges and move forward to help our animal patients, create new knowledge of how life works, and inspire the creativity of our students. We share a common vision to advance the health of animals, people, and the planet. This unique responsibility will light our way and lead us towards the future.