Campus officials, representatives of Assembly Member Lois Wolk and County Supervisor Helen Thomson, and members of the School of Veterinary Medicine community have dedicated the Veterinary Medical Teaching Hospital in honor of William R. Pritchard.
A dedication ceremony April 25 provided the opportunity to recognize the leadership, achievement and enduring influence of former dean William R. Pritchard on the teaching programs, research accomplishments and patient care of the School of Veterinary Medicine. The hospital's new name, the William R. Pritchard Veterinary Medical Teaching Hospital, formally links the school with his contributions to progressive veterinary education and service.
UC Davis Chancellor Larry Vanderhoef told guests that the current veterinary campus, a complex of more than 20 buildings, including several new facilities, "all goes back to Bill's thoughts and plans about what 'the best' should be." Vanderhoef also said that Dr. Pritchard focused on the future and that people from campus colleagues to members of Congress recognized that service was his motivation. "He has served with ultimate distinction," the chancellor concluded.
Dr. Ed O'Neill of the UCSF School of Medicine recognized Dr. Pritchard's insights in work they did together for the Pew Commission's comprehensive review of veterinary education.
Dr. Larry Heider, executive director of the Association of American Veterinary Medical Colleges, also spoke of Dr. Pritchard's influence on the national veterinary scene. Dr. Pritchard served twice as president of the organization, which represents 28 veterinary schools. "He led a successful effort to gain federal funding to grow veterinary colleges and add nine new veterinary schools in the United States," Heider recalled.
Bradford Smith, director of the VMTH for 13 years, said, "I represent just one of thousands whose lives have been influenced and inspired by Dr. Pritchard." He credited Dr. Pritchard for leading the school to produce veterinary graduates who function at an extremely high level due to their experience with real patients in the clinical teaching program.
Dean Osburn stated, "We recognize today the tremendous leadership role he took in the development of the school and the Veterinary Medical Teaching Hospital in particular. Dean Pritchard's founding work with the VMTH led to our national prominence. The VMTH became the model for nearly every veterinary school in the United States and Canada." Dean Osburn thanked Dr. Pritchard for "the vision that has allowed the school to move forward in a robust and exciting way."
Dr. Pritchard responded, "Having this building named after me at this great institution is beyond my wildest dreams. It has been a priceless privilege to serve for 45 years. I am fully aware that what we are celebrating is what we all have worked for."
William R. Pritchard was born in 1924 in Wisconsin. He earned his DVM degree from Kansas State University in 1946, a doctorate from the University of Minnesota in 1953 and a law degree (first in his class) from the University of Indiana in 1957. Dr. Pritchard is recognized throughout the world as an exceptional veterinarian, educator and authority on international agricultural development as well as veterinary law. His analysis of changes in the social, economic, political, technological and environmental aspects of veterinary medicine, primarily through a grant from the Pew Charitable Trusts/National Veterinary Education Program, led to a major role in shaping the substance and nature of veterinary education and public service.
He served as dean of the School of Veterinary Medicine from 1962-1982. In 1966, Dr. Pritchard testified before the U.S. House of Representatives regarding the future of veterinary education. His testimony is widely regarded as instrumental in gaining federal funding to establish nine more veterinary schools in the United States and build veterinary teaching hospitals, including the one that now carries his name.
Dr. Pritchard has advised the National Institutes of Health, the International Service for National Agricultural Research, and the U.S. Agency for International Development, among others. Among his honorary doctorates and other prestigious awards, Dr. Pritchard was named a Distinguished Veterinarian by the National Academy of Practice in Veterinary Medicine, the highest honor given by the veterinary community for international veterinary science.
He retired in 1991.
At the William R. Pritchard Veterinary Medical Teaching Hospital, faculty and experienced technical staff treat more than 32,000 patients each year while teaching essential veterinary skills to students in the Doctor of Veterinary Medicine degree program. The hospital also houses the largest resident training program in the nation, if not the world, with 90 residents in more than 28 disciplines such as surgery, dentistry, behavior, nutrition, oncology, opthalmology, reproductive health, intensive care and other specialties. Veterinarians refer their most complex cases to the teaching hospital, where faculty, staff and students provide the highest level of veterinary care available today.