College of Veterinary Medicine Open House Weekend Features Dedication and Tours of New Hospital Facilities

Friday, June 24, 2022

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Finn chews through a dog treat holding together the ceremonial ribbon
Finn, a dog owned by veterinary student Erin Paul, chews through the ribbon held by (left-right) Dean Willie Reed, Bonnie Brunner, Purdue President Mitch Daniels, Dr. David Brunner, and Indiana State Department of Agriculture Director Bruce Kettler during the dedication ceremony.
Celebrating Our Next Giant Leap

After years of effort to plan, design and construct new Purdue University Veterinary Hospital facilities, the spring dedication ceremony for the David and Bonnie Brunner Purdue Veterinary Medical Hospital Complex brought excitement and joy to a crowd of more than 500 on the eve of the College of Veterinary Medicine’s Open House. The program, complete with a “ribbon chewing” featuring Finn, a dog owned by third-year veterinary student Erin Paul, was held Friday, April 8 in the breezeway of the David and Bonnie Brunner Equine Hospital, which is one of the components of the new complex. 

President Daniels stands on stage with the crowd of seated and standing guests shown in front of him
Purdue President Mitch Daniels address the crowd of some 500 guests, estimated to be the largest gathering ever for a Purdue building dedication.

The $108 million project encompasses 162,500 square feet on a 13 acre site due east of Lynn Hall, which is the home of the Purdue University College of Veterinary Medicine. Named in honor of Dr. David Brunner, a 1979 DVM graduate of the college, and his wife, Bonnie, who gave the lead $10 million gift for the project, the new complex replaces the existing Large Animal Hospital and expands the current Small Animal Hospital facilities in Lynn Hall.

“Is this a dream?” asked Purdue Veterinary Medicine Dean Willie Reed as he welcomed the standing room only crowd to the dedication ceremony. It was a fitting question, given the years of dreaming that preceded completion of the new complex. Dean Reed, a veterinarian who earned his PhD in pathology at Purdue in 1982 and then served on the faculty at Purdue and Michigan State University, said he started working on plans for the new facilities when he began serving as dean of the college in 2007. “My return to Purdue began what proved to be a long and arduous process that has culminated in these structures that we see today,” Dean Reed said. “Though the process was at times wearisome and frustrating, to everyone’s credit, both in our Purdue Veterinary Medicine family and within the Purdue administration, we never lost sight of the dream. We proved our resiliency and persistence in pursuing our next giant leap.”

The planning process included evaluating multiple site plans, working on various building designs, and pursuing private and state support, all of which ultimately led to the day in 2019 when the Indiana legislature approved $73 million in state funding, to be combined with University support and private fundraising by the college to pay for the project. “This new complex we are dedicating today truly sets the standard for an advanced veterinary medical hospital facility,” Dean Reed said.

President Daniels presents Dr. David and Bonnie Brunner with the President's Council Crystal Train Award on stage
President Daniels recognizes the lead donors, Dr. David Brunner (PU DVM ’79) and his wife, Bonnie.

Dean Reed then introduced Indiana State Department of Agriculture Director Bruce Kettler, who emphasized the importance of the new facilities and the College of Veterinary Medicine to what he described as the state’s phenomenal livestock sector. Then, Purdue President Mitch Daniels addressed the crowd and congratulated Dean Reed on the completion of the project. “There were many days to doubt that we could have this opportunity,” President Daniels recalled. “But Willie never gave up and never got down about it… Willie, I’m thrilled for so many individuals, for the students who are and will come through here, for Indiana agriculture and for the veterinary profession, but most of all l am thrilled for you. Congratulations.”

President Daniels also thanked the donors who stepped-up to contribute to the project as part of what he described as an effort to raise an unprecedented level of private support for the college. In particular, he expressed gratitude to David and Bonnie Brunner and presented them with the President’s Council Crystal Train Award, after which Dr. Brunner shared his perspectives on the significance of the project and their reasons for supporting it.

The ceremony concluded, fittingly, with the ribbon “chewing,” when Erin, the veterinary student, and her dog, Finn, joined the dignitaries on stage and Finn expertly chomped through a dog bone treat, severing the ribbon. 

Following the ceremony, tours were offered, enabling guests to see first-hand the new facilities that comprise the David and Bonnie Brunner Purdue Veterinary Medical Hospital Complex. The next day, Saturday, April 9, tours were offered to the general public in conjunction with the College of Veterinary Medicine’s annual Open House. Then, on Sunday, April 10, veterinarians and veterinary nurses were invited to tour the new complex as part of “Veterinary Professionals Day,” which was set aside so they could see the facilities where they will be able to refer their patients for advanced specialty care.  Subsequently, the move-in process began, after which the various services in the new facilities began seeing patients.

Click here to view a recording of the complete dedication ceremony.

Family-friendly Open House Event Returns to Lynn Hall

The College of Veterinary Medicine’s Open House not only included tours of the new hospital complex, it also gave visitors young and old the opportunity to learn about a variety of aspects of veterinary medicine by participating in hands-on exhibits and activities. Hosted in Lynn Hall, the annual event also enabled guests to get a sense of what it’s like to be a student in veterinary school by practicing their ultrasound skills, learning about creepy crawly critters that can affect pets, “scrubbing in” for surgery to save a furry teddy bear friend that appeared to have consumed something it shouldn’t have, and practicing bandaging skills with veterinary nursing students. Participants also enjoyed a visit with special guests from the Indianapolis Zoo who brought a collection of bones and radiographs. Attendees also had the chance to meet some exotic animals courtesy of the PVM Exotics Club and learn about the animals’ favorite treats.

An ever-popular special demonstration involved Leila the horse running on the high-speed equine treadmill at the newly named Donald J. McCrosky Equine Sports Medicine Center. Other features included visiting farm animals in the petting zoo, and an anatomy lesson with a painted horse. Visitors also had a chance to refuel at the food tent in support of the Food Animal and Equine Clubs, and lend a hand with the Cat and Shelter Medicine Clubs’ philanthropic project by creating fleece tie blankets for local animal shelters.

Click here to view a collection of photos highlighting the Open House and other Spring Fest events.

Ceremony Recognizes DVM Class of 2023

The weekend was extra special for veterinary students in the Class of 2023, who were honored as part of a beloved College of Veterinary Medicine tradition called the White Coat Ceremony. During the program the students received their white coats symbolizing their new role as junior veterinarians.  Held in the Purdue Memorial Union Ballrooms Saturday evening, after the Open House, the annual event signified the students transition from the classroom to the clinics, as they prepared to enter their final year of the DVM program. The ceremony was particularly meaningful for the students in this class, as they will be the first to complete clinical rotations in the new David and Bonnie Brunner Purdue Veterinary Medical Hospital Complex. 

Numerous donors, including many alumni, sponsored the ceremony by making gifts to provide each student with a white coat personalized with embroidery. Donors also had the opportunity to write notes of encouragement to be placed in the pockets of the students’ coats to acknowledge their success, enhance their sense of accomplishment, and give them the confidence to keep going.

“The white coat indicates your acceptance of your great responsibility toward your patients and clients, your commitment to show compassion and empathy, and to make a positive difference in the life of every animal and person with whom you come into contact,” Dean Willie Reed said during his remarks at the ceremony. 

He then turned the program over to Associate Dean for Academic Affairs Kathy Salisbury, who called the members of the Class of 2023 to the stage individually to receive their white coats. Dr. Aaron Johnson, president of the Indiana Veterinary Medical Association, also was present to congratulate the students and provide each class member with an engraved name badge. The program continued with remarks from Leah Douglas, of the DVM Class of 2022, who shared words of wisdom as a fourth-year veterinary student nearing graduation. The students also heard from a faculty member who they chose to address their class. Dr. Andrew Woolcock, associate professor of small animal internal medicine, used the opportunity to share his insights as a clinician about the students’ journey ahead.

The ceremony also included the presentation of several awards recognizing individual members of the class for special accomplishments. The following award-winners were honored:

  • Samantha Hatter received the Dr. William W. Carlton Award for Aptitude in Veterinary Pathology, which recognizes a third-year student who has shown aptitude in the study of pathology;
  • Megan Bolger received the Indiana Horse Council Foundation Equine Industry Award, which is presented to a student chosen by peers as having provided the greatest exposure of the equine industry to other students;
  • Hannah Smith received the Holly Watts Memorial Award, which honors a student with exceptional interest and proficiency in non-domestic animal medicine; and,
  • Madalyn Trowbridge was recognized for her service as president of the Purdue Chapter of the Student American Veterinary Medical Association (SAVMA)

The college’s White Coat Ceremony dates back more than 20 years, and is rooted in a medical school tradition that began in 1993 at Columbia University’s Medical School. Today, white coat ceremonies are held in medical and veterinary schools across the country.

This year marked the first time since the pandemic that the event was held in its traditional in-person format with families and loved ones in attendance. During the past two years, the program had to be conducted either completely or partially online.

DVM students don their new white coats for a group photo at the ceremony
DVM Class of 2023

Writer(s): Kevin Doerr |

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