Then & Now

Since its founding in 1899, the WSU College of Veterinary Medicine has contributed to significant advancements in veterinary medicine and standards in animal care. By preserving animal health our veterinarians and researchers contribute not only to healthy animals, but healthier people, and a healthier planet.

Throughout this year, we’ll celebrate the people and breakthroughs that have made the College of Veterinary Medicine what it is today—a research institution, a regional veterinary referral center, and one of few such colleges in the nation with undergraduate programs. Join us in our yearlong celebration of a healthier world.

Photo from 1899.

In September 1899, the College of Veterinary Medicine, then the School of Veterinary Science, admitted its first class of three students to a three-year professional program. Two of the three received their degree.


Since then, the college has graduated nearly 7,000 Doctors of Veterinary Medicine.

Side by side pics of Winfred A. Jordan on the left, and Maurice Cottman on the right.

In 1920, Winfred A. Jordan, a transfer student from soon-to-close San Francisco Veterinary College, is the first Black graduate of the College of Veterinary Medicine. Today, our DEI director, Maurice Cottman, is bringing creative solutions to the college regarding diversity, equity, and inclusion in veterinary medicine and biomedical sciences.

Professional black and white headshot of Catherine.

In 1933, Dr. Catherine Roberts is the first female graduate of the College of Veterinary Medicine and one of just 12 female veterinarians in the nation at the time.

Dean Dori Borjesson at the podium during the 2023 College of Veterinary Medicine commencement ceremony.

Today, the college is led by its first female dean, Dr. Dori Borjesson — one of 11 female veterinary deans of 32 accredited colleges at the time she was hired.

Charles Ugwu works in a lab at the Paul G. Allen School for Global Health on Tuesday, Nov. 28, 2023, in Pullman. (College of Veterinary Medicine/Ted S. Warren)

In 1948, the college’s first ever graduate degree was awarded to veterinary pathologist Dr. John R. Gorham. Today, the college provides renowned graduate training programs in biomedical sciences, immunology and infectious diseases, molecular biosciences, and neuroscience.

Aerial photo of McCoy Hall in 1961. Additions to the original building are the south, east and north.

In 1996, McCoy Hall — a training space for WSU veterinarians for half a century — closes its doors to make way for the college’s current Veterinary Teaching Hospital.

Student in surgery

Today, the facility is the largest veterinary referral center in the Pacific Northwest and treats thousands of animal patients every year.

In 2004, veterinary pharmacologist Dr. Katrina Mealey discovered the MDR1 genetic mutation in herding breed dogs that can cause multidrug sensitivity and can be fatal to some dogs. Today, WSU’s Program in Individualized Medicine has saved countless pets by detecting a variety of mutations of the sort linked to drug sensitivity.

In 2010, the School of Molecular Biosciences, established in 1999, joined the college to create a larger group of biomedical research scientists and scientific resources. Today, with the addition of the school, WSU’s College of Veterinary Medicine is one of the few with undergraduate programs.

Paul Allen

In 2012, the Paul G. Allen School for Global Health was created to find innovative strategies for the treatment and control of diseases affecting public health, economic development, and human opportunity.

Anders Omsland in lab

Today, our scientists in the Allen School are recognized as global health leaders in infectious disease, antimicrobial resistance, rabies control and prevention, and zoonotic disease.

Dean's Leadership Council

In 2022, Dean Dori Borjesson forms a 12-person advisory council made up of distinguished alumni, donors, and community and industry leaders. The Dean’s Leadership Council aims to provide advocacy, guidance, and feedback to advance the college.

Students with a cat

Today, the college offers a variety of programs and certificates tailored for veterinary scribes, technicians, and paraprofessionals.