Archived News

60th Anniversary Provides Opportunity for Reflection, Plans for the Future

November 10, 2008

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As UC Davis celebrates its Centennial during 2008 and 2009, the School of Veterinary Medicine also commemorates its 60th Anniversary. Several fall events and plans for spring quarter help us mark the occasion. 

In October, more than 700 faculty members, staff and students held an informal celebration of the campus Centennial and the school's own milestone, the 60th Anniversary. While the school is recognized for many research and service accomplishments, Dean Bennie Osburn reminded all the faculty, staff and students, "Everything we do is part of today's teaching mission." Each animal that comes to the Veterinary Medical Teaching Hospital, while receiving the highest level of care, provides a teaching experience for our students and specialty residents. Dean Osburn thanked all the veterinary technicians, administrative assistants, research associates and others who work to benefit the health of animals. Private practitioners, members of the public and their pets also deserve credit for their contributions to veterinary education, he said.

Continuing education, class reunions and Homecoming events also took place this fall, bringing alumni back to recall their studies and remember their most notable professors. 

Early days

Opened in 1948, the school was the first professional school at UC Davis and remains the only veterinary school of the University of Californian system. To reach clients and better serve California's animals, the school administers many programs in other locations throughout the state: the Veterinary Medicine Teaching and Research Center in Tulare; the UC Veterinary Medical Center - San Diego; the California Animal Health and Food Safety Laboratory System, with branches in Turlock, Fresno, Tulare and San Bernardino; and the Oiled Wildlife Care Network, with affiliated programs and facilities in two dozen locations. These programs provide specialized teaching and service touchpoints for specific locations and animal interests.

Back in 1948, there was no clinical facility. Today the teaching hospital cares for 30,000 patients each year. Then, treatments for many diseases were nonexistent. Now, our faculty members routinely perform sophisticated procedures and complex drug therapies to save animals' lives. In earlier days, animals were treated one at a time, and even food animals lived on small premises. Now veterinarians manage health at the herd level, and wildlife experts consider the interactions of wildlife populations with other species, including people sharing the same habitat. As for food safety and public health, veterinary faculty  approach issues such as infectious disease on a global level. 

Much has changed over the years, but the school's commitment to excellence continues to raise standards for veterinary medicine and education.

As Dean Osburn told the students, "We have all benefited from the labors of those faculty and students who came before us. As our future veterinary colleagues, you will in turn care for and treat many animals--and add to our rich history of professional accomplishments."  

Summer 2008 through Spring 2009, Veterinary Medicine News is publishing a series of articles and a historical time line of selected school events. Read about these milestones in Veterinary Medicine News online. 

Centennial and 60th Anniversary events continue in 2009 as veterinary faculty develop a speaker series (TBA), and campus prepares for public events such as Picnic Day and Commencement. As faculty members complete a full curriculum review and develop new guidelines for training the next generation of veterinarians, the School of Veterinary Medicine will also begin construction on its long-awaited research facility, Veterinary Medicine III B, in 2009.