October 01, 2009


 Golden anniversary for Purdue veterinary school

Posted Sept. 15, 2009

When Purdue University School of Veterinary Medicine wanted to celebrate its 50th anniversary this year, it decided to spread the word globally.

The veterinary school sent 19 faculty, students, and alumni to Ethiopia in May to help treat production animals and facilitate ongoing relationships with an Ethiopian veterinary college.

The trip was one of two service projects, along with about a dozen other planned events, initiated by the veterinary school as part of its yearlong anniversary celebration. 

Hoof trimming class
Dr. W. Mark Hilton, professor of food animal production medicine at Purdue
University School of Veterinary Medicine, explains to veterinary students
in Ethiopia how to properly trim cow hooves.

The Ethiopia group spent several days working with Project Mercy, a U.S.-based nonprofit relief and development agency that seeks to improve cattle and human nutrition through breeding practices. The volunteers calculated animal weight, administered vaccines, and performed pregnancy checks in the Yetebon community.

In addition, the Purdue team traveled to the Addis Ababa University College of Veterinary Medicine in Debre Zeyit, where they gave and listened to presentations and demonstrations. The veterinary school maintains an exchange program with the Ethiopian college.

Another service group of nine Purdue volunteers traveled in June to the Spirit Lake Sioux Indian Reservation in North Dakota, where few, if any, veterinary services exist. The Spirit Lake project was in cooperation with Rural Area Veterinary Services, a nonprofit program that seeks to improve animal health and well-being in remote rural communities.

The first local anniversary celebration took place Feb. 6, and consisted of a kick-off pep rally at the Indiana VMA's annual meeting in Indianapolis. The event included a 50th anniversary book release.

Other celebratory events included Phi Zeta Day, which featured speaker and poster presentations about current studies on understanding and improving treatment of animal and human diseases; the Dog Days of Summer Continuum Art Project, where 40 painted sculptures of dogs were put on display around Lafayette and West Lafayette, Ind., and the Purdue campus from May through September; an exhibit at the Indiana State Fair showcasing the school's growth since its beginning; and the Gala Event on Sept. 24, which recognized key events and personalities in the school's history.

The veterinary school was established in 1959 with a class of 50 students. The DVM degree program now accepts approximately 70 students annually to study under 115 faculty members. The school has trained nearly 2,800 veterinarians.