AVC alumni thrilled to come back

More than a decade after they graduated, the Atlantic Veterinary College is, once again, playing a central role in the lives of Drs Tracy and Andrea Matthews (AVC ’02).

Dr. Tracy Matthews is now Director of AVC’s Veterinary Teaching Hospital. And Dr. Andrea Matthews has joined the College’s Department of Companion Animals as an Assistant Professor of Radiology and Diagnostic Imaging.

Tracy grew up on a small farm in Staunton, Virginia, where his parents still live today. After finishing his undergraduate degree at Eastern Mennonite University in Harrisonburg, Virginia, and one year of an MBA program at James Madison University, he entered AVC in 1998. Not wanting to lose the work he had put into his MBA, Tracy studied veterinary medicine at AVC during the school year and took the courses he needed to complete his master’s degree during the summers.

When asked about his favourite memories of AVC, he immediately replied, “my classmates. We came in as a group of 60 people, most of whom didn’t know each other, and spent the next four years working and living together. It’s like living in a small village. We supported each other, and AVC supported us all.”

One of those classmates was Andrea Legge, from Whiteway, Newfoundland and Labrador, who was accepted at AVC after completing her Bachelor of Science in Agriculture at the Nova Scotia Agricultural College. Tracy and Andrea met on their first day of class and became friends throughout the year—a friendship that progressed to love. After graduating in the spring of 2002, they moved to Newfoundland and Labrador where they got married and worked in separate small animal practices for the next two years.

Andrea was interested in radiology, and after two years of private practice in her home province, she accepted a radiology residency at the Cummings School of Veterinary Medicine at Tufts University in Massachusetts. During this time, Tracy was hospital director and veterinarian at a small animal veterinary practice owned by VCA Animal Hospitals in the same state. Most of the time, he worked as a veterinarian, but he also gained valuable experience in the management side of veterinary medicine.

After Andrea finished her residency and received her board certification as a radiologist, the couple moved to Knoxville, Tennessee, where they settled into their new jobs and a new home. But when the opportunity to come back to AVC arose four years later, Tracy jumped at the chance.

“I couldn’t pass this up,” he says with a grin. He is thrilled to be back at his alma mater as the Director of the Veterinary Teaching Hospital.

“I have always been very proud of the education I received at UPEI and AVC, and I welcome the opportunity to give back to an institution that has given me so much, he says. “I can say without exaggeration that most of what I have now at this point in my life, I would not have without AVC.”

Tracy and Andrea arrived back on PEI in September and are happily settling in to their new home, along with the pets they adopted during their student years at AVC—a golden retriever named Spencer, now age 10, and cats Lily and Jasmine, ages 12 and 11 respectively.

(Published in the UPEI Magazine, December 2011)