College of Veterinary Medicine & Biomedical Sciences Celebrates 90 Years
Posted February 27, 2006
COLLEGE STATION, February 27, 2006 - From its humble beginnings
in animal stalls and few professors to today's state-of-the-art
facilities that produce research that affects the world, Texas
A&M University's College of Veterinary Medicine &
Biomedical Sciences turns 90 this year amid a world that is far
different than its founders envisioned in 1916.
Today, Texas A&M remains the only veterinary college in
Texas and one of the world's largest veterinary medicine schools -
1 of every 10 practicing veterinarians in the United States has an
Aggie diploma. The College of Veterinary Medicine (it added
Biomedical Sciences to its title in 2004) produces world class
researchers and its animal care programs continually draw praise
from the international scientific community.
In recent years, the institution has become the cloning capital
of the world - it is the only organization that has successfully
cloned six different species (cattle, swine, a goat, a horse, deer,
and a cat) but it is also recognized for its leading research in
animal diseases and most recently, work in bioterrorism issues.
It was not always so.
Dr. Mark Francis inoculates a bull
In 1888, Dr. Mark Francis was appointed as the first
veterinarian to join the Texas A&M faculty, and in 1916 he
became the first dean of the new school of veterinary
medicine. Francis later wrote of those early days, "There
were no laboratories or equipment for our work. We had no
hospital. We had a room about 14 feet by 16 feet that served as
office, classroom and laboratory. The adjoining room became
vacant and was assigned to us as a classroom, and in this
unsuitable place we toiled for 15 years."
Francis overcame the difficulties, cramped
space and tight budgets to become one of the world's most famous
veterinarians - he is often called the "father of Texas veterinary
medicine" and it was he who discovered that ticks were causing
Texas cattle fever that was wiping out herds all over the
state. He would go on to develop effective inoculations to
stem the disease.
The first veterinary graduation class was in 1920 and it didn't
take long to hand out diplomas -- a whopping four students earned
DVM degrees. The college now graduates an average of 125 students
Dr. Theresa Fossum, veterinary cardiac
Other key dates:
- 1953 - the first Veterinary Medical Teaching Hospital was
- 1963 - the first woman was admitted; also the name was changed
from the School of Veterinary Medicine to the College of Veterinary
- 1966 - the first woman graduates from Texas A&M College of
- 1981 - a new Small Animal Hospital was built;
- 1993 - the Veterinary Medical Research Building and new
Large Animal Hospital were constructed;
- 1999 - researchers clone cattle, the first of six different
species to be cloned at Texas A&M, the most by any institution
in the world
Mark Francis would hardly recognize the
college today. It has an enrollment of about 500 students
selected from a highly competitive admissions process, and about
2,250 students are enrolled in the undergraduate biomedical
sciences program and 160 in the graduate program. The Veterinary
Medical Teaching Hospital is composed of a Large and Small Animal
Hospital and a Wildlife and Exotic Animal Center that treats about
20,000 in-hospital cases each year. The teaching hospital is a
state-of-the-art facility that rivals most human hospitals with its
equipment, clinical services, and medical specialists. The
VMTH employs more than 100 faculty members in disciplines ranging
from behavioral medicine to diagnostic imaging, large and small
animal dentistry to neurology and neurosurgery, and internal
medicine to dermatology.
Surgical heart treatment, nephrology research, small animal
rehabilitation and comprehensive testing available at the
gastrointestinal laboratory are just a few of the services
available for animals through the VMTH, generating approximately
$10 million annually.
Veterinary students on ophthalmology
Also, the face of veterinary medicine has changed -- literally.
Today, about 70 percent of the college's professional students are
female, a startling fact considering that the first woman
veterinarian graduated only 40 years ago. More than 26 percent of
the 2005 graduating class was bound for post-DVM study in highly
competitive residencies, internships, or graduate training
programs. The newest Class of 2009 has an overall undergraduate
grade point average of 3.65 with nearly 13 percent of the class
being from ethnic minorities underrepresented in the
As testimony to the high caliber of students admitted to the
college, the current President of the Student American Veterinary
Medical Association (AVMA) is 4th year student Travis McDermott who
represents 10,000 veterinary students across the United States as a
delegate at AVMA functions. The veterinary college also
hosted a highly successful 2005 Student AVMA Symposium which was
completely student managed and attracted more than 2,000 veterinary
students from across the U.S. to College Station.
Dr. Garry Adams conducts cutting edge
In addition to awarding DVM degrees, the college has a DVM and
Masters of Business Administration dual degree program oriented
toward business and leadership development in veterinary medicine.
The DVM/MBA program was developed through the college's new Center
for Executive Leadership in Veterinary Medicine. The college also
has a dual DVM/PhD program which is integral to the on-going
success of the college's teaching and research programs.
And while Francis and his fellow professors spent almost all of
their time on animal care and diseases, today's veterinary
professionals are internationally minded and may work in a myriad
of animal health fields related to bioterrorism such as anthrax,
food safety and zoonotic diseases (those passed from animals to
humans), public service, research, the corporate sector and other
areas that were inconceivable in 1916.
The College of Veterinary Medicine &
Biomedical Sciences is one of the premier institutions in the world
for education, research and patient care in veterinary
medicine. Through innovative educational programs and strong
research capabilities, the college continues to affirm its
commitment to provide the best in health care for animal
The advances made through the college's research, from basic
animal anesthesia to cloning, continue to prove indispensable not
only in the improved health and production of food, companion,
sporting and service animals, but toward new medicines and
procedures for the health of humans as well.
Dr. Joanne Hardy answers questions for
students during their large animal emergency clinical rotation
"The challenges facing veterinarians today are changing faster
than at any time in history with more global implications than ever
before," says The Carl B. King Dean of Veterinary Medicine H.
Richard Adams, dean of the college since 1998 and a 1966 DVM
graduate of Texas A&M University.
"Since that first graduating class, we have granted more than
6,200 veterinary medicine degrees. Today, Texas Aggie veterinarians
work all over the world, and they serve the 19 million residents of
Texas and their animals in roles dealing with private practice, but
also in areas dealing with the military, industry, government and
universities," says Adams.
"We've had a distinguished 90 years, but I can honestly say that
our best and most exciting days are ahead of us. The
veterinary medicine student of the 21st century will be the most
highly trained in history."
Angela G. Clendenin
Director, Communications & Public Relations
Ofc - (979) 862-2675
Cell - (979) 739-5718
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