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Oklahoma State University
Center for Veterinary Health Sciences

Healthy Animals - Healthy People

Our History

The veterinary college is the youngest of Oklahoma State University’s colleges.  While early attempts to establish a veterinary college by Dr. Lowery L. Lewis were not successful, the Oklahoma Agricultural and Mechanical College School of Veterinary Medicine officially opened its doors in 1948.  Dr. Clarence H. McElroy served as the first dean of the college.

On March 1, 1948, the first class was taught by Dr. Duane R. Peterson.  He lectured the group of 31 men on the subject of gross anatomy.  He would spend the next 38 years teaching anatomy to generations of veterinary students.  During the 60th anniversary of the college in 2008, the Duane R. Peterson Anatomy Learning Center would be dedicated in his honor.  The first class of 26 Oklahoma A&M veterinarians graduated in May 1951.

The first female to earn a DVM degree at Oklahoma A&M College was Dr. June Iben in 1955. Gradually more and more females would pursue a DVM degree.  Female students would outnumber male students for the first time in the college’s history with the class of 1990—34 females to 31 males.

In 1957, Oklahoma A&M College changed its name to Oklahoma State University and the School of Veterinary Medicine became the College of Veterinary Medicine. 

In 1974, ground was broken for the Oklahoma Animal Disease Diagnostic Laboratory and in 1975 the new building was dedicated.  The laboratory is designed to serve veterinarians and animal owners by providing diagnostic test results.  These tests results can help reduce animal disease and human disease attributable to animals.  The lab is also used for teaching the next generation of veterinarians and for conducting research.

In 1981 the Boren Veterinary Medical Teaching Hospital is completed.  The hospital treats all species—companion animals, horses, cows, camelids and exotic pets.

In 2004, the college name is changed to the Oklahoma State University Center for Veterinary Health Sciences (CVHS).  The CVHS encompasses the College of Veterinary Medicine, the Oklahoma Animal Disease Diagnostic Laboratory, the Boren Veterinary Medical Teaching Hospital, the CVHS Ranch, the Equine Research Park and other laboratories located within its facilities.