College of Veterinary Medicine |
Cougar Orientation and Leadership Experience

Healthy Animals, Healthy People, Healthy Planet


Dear Incoming Class of 2020,

The Washington State University College of Veterinary Medicine (CVM) is proud to welcome you to our Cougar Family! You are about to embark on one of biggest challenges of your life and we at WSU will do our best to support your preparation. 

Our introductory week, the Cougar Orientation and Leadership Experience (COLE) is designed to prepare you for personal and professional success.  After a short introduction to the college, you will head to Post Falls, Idaho with your new classmates for two and a half days of thought-provoking and inspirational experiential programing at the Ross Point Camp and Conference Center. You will be at Ross Point Monday afternoon August 15th through Wednesday evening August 17th. The COLE program culminates back on campus at the White Coat Ceremony on Thursday afternoon, where you and your new colleagues will be formally welcomed into the Cougar family and the veterinary profession. 

Over the past decade, research has indicated that veterinary programs are responsible not only for training clinically competent veterinarians, but also veterinarians with the interpersonal, team and business skills to navigate successfully as leaders throughout the profession.  Our Leadership Experience launches you on this path to professional and personal awareness. 

A ground-breaking program, the off-campus Leadership Experience portion of your orientation has provided the model for veterinary school orientations across the country.   The program challenges incoming students to define their personal strengths and goals, build community with fellow students and faculty and consider their evolution from students to outstanding professionals. It is our belief that all veterinary professionals, whether they seek it or not, are personal leaders.  Leaders understand their influence, seek the best for everyone they work with and work to build resilience and a positive outlook. 

Most of our time together will be spent outdoors on the beautiful wooded campus of Ross Point Retreat and Conference Center.  Upper class mentors and WSU faculty will guide you through an experiential curriculum designed to jumpstart your training career with thoughtful reflection and a strong community.  Meeting your fellow classmates, faculty and mentors, and aligning your expectations with those of the CVM, are highlights of the program.  You will discover the value watching your class transform from competitors to collaborators and from a group of people from around the globe into a solid, supportive community. 

Former students and faculty affirm COLE as an irreplaceable time of preparation and reflection, as students prepare to begin a rigorous four-year program of veterinary training.  We are eager to meet you and begin our four-year journey together. 

All our best,

The Cougar Leadership Experience Team

Washington State University