Skip Navigation
Oklahoma State University
Center for Veterinary Health Sciences

Healthy Animals - Healthy People

Holmes Named Distinguished Alumnus

Wednesday, September 7 2016

older man in a suit

Donald D. Holmes, DVM, MS, DACLAM, of Wichita, Kan., was recently named a 2016 Distinguished Alumnus of Oklahoma State University’s Center for Veterinary Health Sciences. Holmes earned his DVM degree from OSU in 1954 and serves as the class representative.

He worked in a mixed animal practice before serving in the U.S. Army (1955 – 1959) as 1st Lieutenant receiving a Letter of Commendation. The first veterinarian to serve as Chief of the Experimental Animal Laboratory, he established the Letterman Army Hospital’s Surgical Research Unit.

After earning a MS degree in Veterinary Pathology from OSU (1962), he spent the next three years as the first lab animal veterinarian at the Civil Aeromedical Research Institute in Oklahoma City. Under his leadership, they became AAALAC accredited.

Holmes next appointment was split between the University of Oklahoma Health Sciences Center (OUHSC) and the Oklahoma City Veterans Administration Medical Center (VA). Shortly after starting, he became a diplomate of the American College of Laboratory Animal Medicine (1966). Again, he was the first lab animal veterinarian at both the VA and the OUHSC. Under his direction both were AAALAC accredited. He also assisted with pathology labs for OU medical and dental students and established a nation-wide training program for VA animal facility supervisors. In addition, Holmes served as the lab animal consultant for the OU Medical Research Foundation and the main OU campus. Through the efforts of Dr. Gary White (OSU Vet Med 1968), a library/conference room in the OUHSC’s Biomedical Science Building was dedicated to Holmes.

From 1979 to 1986, Holmes served as the director of Laboratory Animal Resources and professor of Veterinary Pathology at OSU’s Center for Veterinary Health Sciences. He was also the attending veterinarian for OSU. He authored a reference book entitled, “Clinical Laboratory Animal Medicine: An Introduction” which has been distributed internationally.

His final position before retirement (1986 –1993) was Chief Veterinary Medical Officer for the Department of Veterans Affairs in Washington, D.C. In 1991, the VA recognized Holmes’ commitment and dedication to the VA Veterinary Medical Units with the establishment of the Laboratory Animal Medicine Reference Library.

Throughout his career Holmes has been active in organized veterinary medicine. He is a member of the American Veterinary Medical Association, the Oklahoma Veterinary Medical Association, American College of Laboratory Animal Medicine, American Association for Laboratory Animal Science, and the Society of Experimental Biology and Medicine to name a few.

Holmes mentored many young veterinarians as they began their careers in lab animal medicine especially through his work with the VA. He and colleagues created the Association of VA Veterinary Medical Officers to better coordinate activities and communications among VMO’s across the country.

Outside of veterinary medicine, Holmes has been a member of the Board of Management for the Edmond YMCA and a member of the Board of Trustees for the First United Methodist Church of Edmond. He is a life member of the OSU Emeriti Association (president in 1998-1999), the OVMA, and the Oklahoma State University Alumni Association.

Holmes will be honored at a luncheon on Friday, Oct. 14, at 11:30 a.m. in the Wes Watkins Center located on the OSU Stillwater campus. Tickets may be purchased on the veterinary center’s Fall Conference website under the menu selection for Alumni Events Only. The luncheon is open to anyone who wishes to celebrate Dr. Holmes’ success.