Vet med college celebrates 125 years

Jennifer Nacin

The College of Veterinary Medicine — the first veterinary college west of the Mississippi River and the nation’s oldest public veterinary college — is celebrating its 125th anniversary.

With about 6,000 graduates since its establishment in 1879, the college has seen much growth over the years, college officials said.

The college will host a week of events starting Monday; April 30 has been designated as Celebration Day, featuring a gala banquet which organizers hope will be attended by about 600 college officials, donors, alumni and other special guests.

The week of events will include activities like a pet care seminar, a best-decorated department contest and a show and tell at the college for alumni and donors.

Patrick Halbur, interim associate dean of the veterinary diagnostic and production animal medicine department, said the climax of the celebration will be the banquet where those who have been an integral part of the college will be honored and recognized.

“We will recognize former alumni who have made their marks nationally and internationally,” Halbur said. “We will also recognize longtime contributors to the college. It does give us the opportunity to reflect on where we’ve been and where we’re going.”

Halbur said this is a great time to reflect on the extensive research and numerous improvements that have been made to eradicate infectious diseases in livestock, where the college has been a national and global leader.

“Being the oldest veterinary college in North America, probably what is most impressive is our graduates and where they have gone on to be leaders in veterinary medicine in North America and across the world, whether it be in academia, in the government or in private practices,” he said.

Larry Booth, associate professor of veterinary clinical sciences, said this is an exciting time to showcase what accomplishments have been made in the college, as well as foster support from alumni and guests.

“It’s the oldest, we have wonderful traditions and now we are trying to obtain more resources to make our college the best it can be,” he said. “This doesn’t just showcase our accomplishments, it shows a vision of where we want to go and what we want to do in the future.”

A future project he mentioned was the building of a new College of Veterinary Medicine hospital.

He said one of the largest contributions the college has made to Iowa and the nation is its support for livestock venues through medical discoveries and research.

“Even though we have trained our veterinarians to do just about anything, I think we’ve contributed a lot to the agricultural industry,” Booth said.

Lorraine Hoffman, professor of veterinary diagnostic and production animal medicine, said this celebration highlights the college’s past accomplishments that have benefited veterinary medicine and research across the globe.

“The goals are to celebrate the rich history that we have and the impact that this college has had on the veterinary profession in the state of Iowa, nationally and worldwide,” Hoffman said.

She said this celebration highlights not only the past accomplishments of the college, but the future of the students who benefit from the college’s teaching, research and professional practice.