Sixty + 150 Equals a Landmark Year for Purdue Veterinary Medicine

Friday, December 13, 2019

Make a Gift
Support the College

Purdue University photo/Rebecca Wilcox

Years that end in the number nine hold special meaning for Purdue University and the College of Veterinary Medicine, especially the year 2019, when Purdue commemorated its 150th Anniversary and Purdue Veterinary Medicine celebrated its 60th Anniversary. The occasions were marked by an abundance of special events and activities, which provided opportunities to reflect on historical milestones, spotlight points of excellence and look to the future in engaging and thought-provoking ways.

Purdue Pete joins a group of students donning photo props in front of a photo backdrop in the Lynn Hall Courtyard
PVM’s 60th Anniversary celebration included an official birthday party with an appearance by Purdue Pete on September 9, the first day of classes 60 years ago.

Purdue Veterinary Medicine kicked-off its 60th Anniversary celebrations with a special event Friday, March 1, at the Indiana Veterinary Medical Association (IVMA) annual meeting in Indianapolis. The 60th Anniversary Kick-off Luncheon included a performance by the Purdue Musical Organization’s a cappella group called the “Voiceovers,” which led the audience in singing “Happy Birthday” while a 60th Anniversary cake was rolled into the center of the room to mark the milestone.

Dean Willie Reed began the event by commenting on the excellent longstanding relationship the College has enjoyed with the IVMA, and noting that the IVMA’s annual meeting provided the perfect venue for launching PVM’s 60th Anniversary celebration. Dean Reed also marvelled at 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.” The event concluded with a keynote speech by 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.

Another anniversary highlight involved an eight-day continuing education (CE) course in April in Belize and Guatemala with the Belize Rehabilitation Clinic/Wildlife Institute. Five veterinarians and four veterinary nurses from across the U.S. and Canada joined PVM’s Director of Global Engagement William Smith and Director of Lifelong Learning Andrea Brown on the adventure. The program focused on multiple aspects of wildlife medicine and rehabilitation, and provided participants extensive hands-on experiences with a variety of wildlife species.

Additional special events were planned during the summer and fall, including PVM Family Days at Fair Oaks Farms and the Indianapolis Zoo, and an official birthday party at Lynn Hall on September 9, commemorating the first day of classes 60 years ago when members of the first class, the Class of 1963, started their veterinary education. The celebration included an appearance by Purdue Pete who joined in photographs at the 60th Anniversary photo booth. Attendees also had the opportunity to write notes to future veterinary students.

The DVM Class of 1994 gather for a group photo on risers in the Purdue Memorial Union ballroom
The Purdue Veterinary Medicine DVM Class of 1994 celebrated their 25th Anniversary at the “PVM Through the Decades” event.

The 60th Anniversary celebrations reached their climax during the 2019 Purdue Veterinary Conference, which featured a special event focused on the theme, “PVM Through the Decades.” Held September 19, the reception incorporated displays of photos and memorabilia for each of the College’s six decades of history. Attendees also tested their historical knowledge with a quiz showing familiar faces from years gone by. A time capsule that will be integrated into the planned new Veterinary Teaching Hospital also was on display with its contents, including current photos, letters from current students, modern journals, and an iPhone containing pictures.

The program continued with class reunion recognition as Dean Willie Reed announced the class anniversary years while the Purdue Musical Organizations performing group called the “Flashbacks” performed songs from corresponding decades. Special tribute was given to the 25th and 50th reunion classes. Dr. Jeff Harker, of the DVM Class of 1994, spoke on behalf of his classmates. Then, Director of Alumni Relations Susan Xioufaridou introduced members of the 50th Anniversary Class, the Class of 1969, as they received special 50th Anniversary Class medallions from the Purdue Veterinary Alumni Association. Then, as the Golden Anniversary Class stood on stage, class member Allan Baker shared reflections on behalf of his classmates.

Classmates of the DVM Class of 1969 join together for a group photo on the steps of the Lynn Hall Courtyard
Members of the Class of 1969, the Golden Anniversary Class, donned white coats for a nostalgic tour of Lynn Hall.

The Class of 1969 is the College’s seventh Golden Anniversary Class, and class members gathered September 20 at the John Purdue Room in Purdue’s Marriott Hall for their class reunion dinner. The event included a musical performance and an opportunity for class members to share memories of their days at Purdue and their life experiences since graduation. Earlier in the day, the classmates had a chance to tour the Purdue campus and athletic facilities by bus before gathering in Lynn Hall to don white coats for nostalgia’s sake, enjoy a lunch and a report on the College by Dean Reed, and take a tour led by representatives of the DVM Class of 2020.

Professional photos of the 50th Anniversary class reunion are available at Visit the 2019 Purdue DVM client gallery. At the login page, use the password “2019PurdueDVM”. The photos are available in the 2019 Purdue University DVM Anniversary Dinner gallery.

Gina speaks on stage at Purdue's Loeb Playhouse with 150th Anniversary Ideas Festival graphics behind her
Author and New York Times reporter Gina Kolata gave a talk hosted by Purdue Veterinary Medicine as part of Purdue’s Ideas Festival on the topic, “What IF the Next Pandemic is Inevitable?” based on her book “Flu: The Story of the Great Influenza Pandemic of 1918.”

Purdue Veterinary Medicine’s 60th Anniversary dovetailed with Purdue University’s Sesquicentennial celebration, which marked the 150th Anniversary of the University’s founding in 1869. The campus-wide commemoration focused on the concept of “taking giant leaps,” a theme inspired by the monumental achievement of alumnus Neil Armstrong, who, as the first man to walk on the moon, uttered the immortal words, “One giant leap for mankind.”

The University characterized the Sesquicentennial as a time to redefine the scope of land-grant universities and challenge global leaders to take GIANT LEAPS in solving worldwide problems. The centerpiece of the Giant Leaps Sesquicentennial campaign was an Ideas Festival that connected world-renowned speakers and Purdue expertise in a conversation on the most critical problems and opportunities facing the world. Cross-disciplinary discussions and events aligned with four Giant Leaps themes ran the course of the entire year, from Homecoming 2018 to Homecoming 2019:

  • Giant Leaps in Space: Earth, Exploration, and Economics
  • Giant Leaps in AI, Algorithms, and Automation: Balancing Humanity and Technology
  • Giant Leaps in Health, Longevity, and Quality of Life
  • Giant Leaps to a Sustainable World: Innovate Today for a Sustainable Tomorrow

The University also spotlighted each of the colleges during the year, focusing on the College of Veterinary Medicine during September, when the College hosted a special campus-wide lecture by Gina Kolata, author of “Flu: The Story of the Great Influenza Pandemic of 1918.” Kolata spoke on the topic, “What IF the Next Pandemic is Inevitable?” The event at Loeb Playhouse in Stewart Center was co-sponsored by the College of Health and Human Sciences’ Public Health Program, and the Indiana University School of Medicine – West Lafayette. Characterizing her book as a medical detective story, Kolata shared how the deadly 1918 flu strain affected young, healthy individuals and spread rapidly across the world. It is estimated that about 500 million people or one-third of the world’s population became infected with the virus. Her remarks facilitated discussion of how research on the 1918 outbreak offers insights regarding the next potential pandemic.

Kolata is a two-time runner-up for the Pulitzer Prize for her writing at The New York Times, where she works as a science and medicine reporter. The author of six books, Kolata is a graduate of the molecular biology program at M.I.T. and received her master’s in applied mathematics from the University of Maryland. A video of her presentation can be found at:

Dean Reed sits on stage as a he receives a flu shot from a Purdue Pharmacy student seated beside him and others look on
Dean Willie Reed receives a flu shot from a Purdue Pharmacy student following Gina Kolata’s talk in Stewart Center’s Loeb Playhouse.

The importance of vaccination in flu prevention was demonstrated in a practical way following the talk. Purdue Veterinary Medicine Dean Willie Reed, Dean Marion Underwood of the College of Health and Human Sciences, and College of Pharmacy Dean Eric Barker all rolled up their sleeves and received their annual flu shots on stage, with the help of some Purdue Pharmacy students under the guidance of Purdue University Pharmacy Director Nicole Noel.

Afterward, the focus shifted to Lynn Hall, where Dr. Harm HogenEsch, Purdue Veterinary Medicine associate dean for research, moderated a panel discussion featuring experts who discussed the topic, “The Current and Future Role of Vaccination in Global Health.” Kolata was joined on the panel by Pamela M. Aaltonen, professor emeritus from the Purdue School of Nursing; Marifran Mattson, professor and head of Purdue’s Brian Lamb School of Communication; and Suresh Mittal, PVM Distinguished Professor of Virology, and Ekramy Sayedahmed, post-doctoral research associate, both of the PVM Department of Comparative Pathobiology. Dr. HogenEsch guided the discussion and took questions from audience members, as the panelists engaged in a robust discussion about flu vaccines, pandemic outbreaks, vaccine hesitancy and anti-vaccination concerns, as well as communication strategies related to public health.

The College was also put in the spotlight during Purdue’s 150th Anniversary by virtue of “Footprints” videos that were posted on the Giant Leaps blog. Two of those told the story of Purdue Veterinary Medicine personalities: Associate Dean for Engagement Sandy San Miguel and then veterinary student Morgan Fortune, who graduated in the DVM Class of 2019. Dr. San Miguel’s video may be viewed here: The Footprints segment on Dr. Morgan Fortune is available here:

Dr. HogenEsch speaks as the panelists seated beside him listen
Dr. Harm HogenEsch, PVM associate dean for research, moderated a panel discussion in which Gina Kolata (center) was joined by (left-right) School of Nursing Professor Emeritus Pamela Aaltonen; Suresh Mittal, PVM Distinguished Professor of Virology; Ekramy Sayedahmed, post-doctoral research associate in the Department of Comparative Pathobiology; and Professor and Head of the Brian Lamb School of Communication Marifran Mattson.

Writer(s): Kevin Doerr |

Purdue University College of Veterinary Medicine, 625 Harrison Street, West Lafayette, IN 47907, 765-494-7607

© 2024 Purdue University | An equal access/equal opportunity university | Copyright Complaints | Maintained by PVM Web Communications

If you have trouble accessing this page because of a disability, please contact PVM Web Communications at