On this truly gray winter’s day, there is a reason to celebrate. Please join me in wishing a happy birthday to our very own College of Veterinary Medicine! And yes, it is appropriate to ask our age (in this case). We are celebrating 125 years, the quasquicentennial if you want to be fancy. Like all great stories of excellence, we have humble beginnings. The veterinary program was initiated in 1895 when the regents authorized WSU to construct a shed for the veterinary department, not to exceed the cost of $60. We officially opened in September 1899, admitting our first class of three students to a three-year professional program.
And look where we are today. We are all or part of 11 major buildings and we cover more than 350 acres. We have an annual revenue of $120 million and we now enroll around 140 veterinary students each year. Although this anniversary commemorates when we began educating tomorrow’s veterinarians, the college has leveraged our rich tradition of education and research and embraced strong undergraduate programs and deeply established graduate training programs. For example, our infectious disease and microbial immunology post-doctoral training program is one of the longest-supported National Institutes of Health (NIH) training programs in the country. And the teaching academy grew to a regional strength from strong roots in our college. In a time of political turmoil where a few question the value of higher education, I hope you, like me, take deep pride in our college’s mission, its adherence to core land grant values, its vital role in discovery, its inclusive community, and its willingness to adapt to and lead change.
So stay tuned. Plan to celebrate with us throughout this year, add us to your calendar for fall 2024 (date to be announced) for a visit to the college for a weekend to engage with alumni, friends, students, faculty, staff, donors, and community members where we will highlight our tremendous history (then) and celebrate the college in 2024 (now). And yes, there will be cake.
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Be safe, healthy, happy, and stay hopeful.