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Built in 1976, Vet Med building receives name

A+crowd+gathers+at+the+Frederick+Douglass+Patterson+Hall+naming+ceremony+on+Oct.+4.
Sophia Wyckoff
A crowd gathers at the Frederick Douglass Patterson Hall naming ceremony on Oct. 4.

On Oct. 4, 100 years after he graduated from Iowa State University’s College of Veterinary Medicine, Frederick Douglass Patterson’s name was honored upon the college’s main academic building. 

The now Frederick Douglass Patterson Hall is located on the veterinary medicine campus, but does not include all parts of the large building. The naming excludes the Lloyd Veterinary Medical Center, the new Veterinary Diagnostic Laboratory or other buildings outside the main College of Veterinary Medicine complex.

The Board of Regents approved the naming during its June 14 meeting. 

“On June 14, the building’s name was approved, and we can now take this time to honor his name, his life and his legacy,” Wendy Wintersteen, Iowa State University president, said. 

The College of Veterinary Medicine building opened in 1976 and has been nameless since. 

Around 100 people, including Iowa State students, faculty, Patterson’s family and more, gathered at the Gentle Doctor Plaza to commence the naming ceremony. 

“Patterson founded the school’s Colleges of Veterinary Medicine and Engineering and established the college’s commercial dietetics program,” Dan Grooms, dean of the College of Veterinary Medicine, said. “Today, we celebrate and honor Dr. Patterson.”

Once Patterson retired, he continued to impact African American students higher education as he became the founder of the United Negro College Fund. This organization has raised almost $5 billion in scholarship money for African American students since Patterson created it.

“I wonder if young Patterson was aware of his name and the impact he would have on students still today, especially in the Black community,” Monica Howard, assistant dean of Veterinary Student Success, said. “There has been a long overdue education about Dr. Patterson and his impacts.” 

Patterson was awarded the Presidential Medal of Freedom from President Ronald Reagan in 1987, being the first veterinarian and third person from Iowa State to be awarded this Presidential Medal. “By his inspiring example of personal excellence and unselfish dedication, he taught the nation that, in this land of freedom, no mind should go to waste,” Reagan said in his Presidential Medal of Freedom speech.  

According to UNFC, Patterson’s accomplishments remain within the scope of the people he influenced. Throughout his 87 years, he inspired African Americans, influenced higher education policy and practice and changed how philanthropy would be conducted. 

“He was a champion for human rights, equality and opportunity during his lifetime,” Grooms said. “This recognition will honor Dr. Patterson’s legacy and in turn, the legacy and impact of the College of Veterinary Medicine has had on society around the world.”

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  • K

    Kris Stacy-Bates | Oct 5, 2023 at 9:32 am

    Additional note – the school where Dr. Patterson “founded the school’s Colleges of Veterinary Medicine and Engineering and established the college’s commercial dietetics program” was the Tuskegee Institute, where he served as the Institute’s president from 1935 to 1953.

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