PVM Kicks-off 60th Anniversary Celebration at IVMA Annual Meeting

Friday, March 8, 2019

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PVM 60th tiered cake pictured
The celebration featured a black and gold cake decorated with the College’s 60th Anniversary graphic.

Purdue Veterinary Medicine faculty, staff, alumni, and friends filled the Veterans Hall ballroom at the Indianapolis Marriott East for the College’s official 60th Anniversary Kick-off Luncheon on Friday, March 1. The event was part of the Indiana Veterinary Medical Association’s (IVMA) annual meeting. Dean Willie Reed began the celebration by emphasizing the enduring relationship that has been built between PVM and the IVMA.  “The College has enjoyed an excellent longstanding relationship with the IVMA, and that strong partnership makes this venue a perfect place for launching our 60th Anniversary celebration,” Dean Reed said.

The celebration included a performance by the Purdue Musical Organization’s a cappella group called the “Voiceovers,” which also led the audience in singing “Happy Birthday” while the 60th Anniversary cake was rolled into the center of the room to mark the milestone.  Then Dean Reed returned to the podium, marveling how 60 years have passed since the College opened its doors to the first class of veterinary students in 1959.  “I’m sure that when our College’s founding faculty members started teaching that first class, the year 2019 would have seemed light-years away,” Dean Reed commented.  “Yet, here we are, 60 years later, with much to be thankful for and proud of as we look to the past, and much to be excited about in the future as we peer ahead at the years to come.”

A capella group The Voiceovers pictured on stage at the Kick-off celebration
The “Voiceovers,” a Purdue Music Organization’s a cappella ensemble entertained the audience with heart-felt renditions of contemporary and classic favorites before leading everyone in singing “Happy Birthday” in honor of the College’s 60th Anniversary.

Dean Reed also noted how the College’s 60th Anniversary coincides with Purdue University’s Sesquicentennial, which is known by the theme, “150 Years of Giant Leaps,” inspired by Purdue alumnus Neil Armstrong’s historic statement on the moon.  “That term, ‘Giant Leaps,’ also is fitting for our College and the veterinary medical profession,” Dean Reed said. “It’s amazing to think about the giant leaps we have made in the last 60 years. And we recognize none of those accomplishments would have been possible without the dedication and support of faculty, staff, students, alumni, donors, the Indiana legislature, and our friends and allies in the veterinary medical profession and the field of agriculture.”

Looking to the future, Dean Reed highlighted plans for a new Veterinary Teaching Hospital and announced the establishment of a group of key donors to the project.  “As our state legislators are working to assist us in making the new hospital a reality, we already have received 14 private gift commitments to ‘set the pace’ in garnering financial support for the new facilities,” Dean Reed said. “In this 60th anniversary year, we have set a goal of finding 60 Pacesetters who want to partner with us and leave their prints on this project through major gifts of $25,000 or more.”  Disclosing that the most recent “pacesetter” just stepped forward that week, Dean Reed encouraged the audience members to consider joining the group or helping connect the College to others who might have that interest.

The day concluded with a keynote speech from Purdue Veterinary Medicine alumna Karen Cornell, who earned both her DVM and PhD degrees at Purdue and now serves as the associate dean for professional programs at the Texas A&M University College of Veterinary Medicine and Biomedical Sciences.  In her role, she has an appreciation for the importance of communication and leadership in veterinary practice.

Karen Cornell pictured with Willie Reed and Kathy Salisbury at the 60th Kick-off Celebration
Dr. Karen Cornell (center), the PVM alumna who served as keynote speaker for the 60th Anniversary Kick-off Luncheon, pauses for a photo with PVM Associate Dean for Academic Affairs Kathy Salisbury and Dean Willie Reed.

Dr. Cornell’s keynote speech focused on what the last 60 years have been like for the Purdue University College of Veterinary Medicine and what the next 60 years may hold as well. Looking back on the history of veterinary medicine, Dr. Cornell spoke about how the College has played a role in the development of the profession. She noted that through hard work and dedication, veterinarians moved the profession forward despite such perceived threats as automobiles replacing horses and the rise of large-scale livestock operations.

Dr. Cornell used these examples of issues that confronted the veterinary profession in the past as a foundation for looking forward to the next 60 years. She explained that the profession is going to change fast and extensively in the years to come. She also spoke with pride about being a Purdue University alumna because of Purdue’s long tradition of improving diversity and inclusion.  “Eighty-five to ninety percent of people have a regular veterinarian who they prefer for two reasons – knowledge and their kind and compassionate approach,” Dr. Cornell noted. “We need a welcoming community that understands all people and all backgrounds.”

The determination to persist through any obstacle and a commitment to constant improvement enables Dr. Cornell to see a bright future for the next 60 years at Purdue University. She encouraged the College to continue to incorporate critical skill development into the curriculum as a means of bridging basic and clinical sciences. Dr. Cornell concluded by sharing a motivating remark that left the audience looking forward to the future.  “The profession will change,” Dr. Cornell said.  “The transition will be difficult, but we will remain the profession filled with people who are passionate about meeting the needs of animals and people and I believe Purdue will help lead the way in the next 60 years.”

Writer(s): Amanda McCormick, PVM Communications Intern, and Kevin Doerr | pvmnews@purdue.edu

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