Cougar Orientation and Leadership Experience


Dear Incoming Class of 2023,


The Washington – Idaho – Montana – Utah Regional Program in Veterinary Medicine is proud to welcome you to our veterinary community! You are about to embark on one of biggest challenges of your life and we will do our best to support your preparation.

Our introductory week, the Cougar Orientation and off-campus 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 programming at the Ross Point Camp and Conference Center. You will be at Ross Point Monday afternoon August 12th through Wednesday late afternoon August 14th. The COLE program resumes on the Pullman campus on Thursday morning for additional cougar orientation events and culminates at the White Coat Ceremony on Thursday evening, where you and your new colleagues will be formally welcomed into the WIMU community 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 leadership skills to navigate successfully 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, USU, and MSU faculty and staff will guide you through an experiential curriculum designed to jump-start your training career with thoughtful reflection and a strong community. Meeting your fellow classmates, faculty, staff, and mentors, and aligning your expectations with those of WIMU, are highlights of the program. You will discover 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