The University of Missouri College of Veterinary Medicine ushered in Alumni Reunion Weekend Sept. 21, 2018, with a Clydesdale Hall 25th anniversary celebration. Clydesdale Hall was completed in early 1993 and dedicated on April 3 of that year. It was built to house the CVM’s Veterinary Medical Teaching Hospital, where third- and fourth-year veterinary students acquire hands-on clinical experience. The teaching hospital was renamed the Veterinary Health Center in 2015 and comprises the Equine, Food Animal and Small Animal hospitals.
CVM Dean Carolyn J. Henry, DVM, MS, DACVIM, welcomed the audience to the celebration. She thanked donors who had made the construction of the facility possible, including Virginia and August Busch III, the Anheuser-Busch Foundation and Hills Pet Nutrition. She also recognized Margaret Niemeyer, the widow of former associate dean for academic and student affairs Kenneth Niemeyer, who is credited with spearheading the effort to raise private support to build Clydesdale Hall and overseeing its construction.
Henry thanked the faculty and staff who have kept the VHC running and maintained the facility for the past quarter-century and recognized those present who had been employed at the hospital when it opened and remain on the job 25 today.
She also read a note from Ron Haffey, who was the hospital administrator when Clydesdale was constructed. Haffey is retired and was unable to attend the anniversary celebration. In his letter he recounted the challenge of overcoming an unexpected $1 million cut to the facility’s anticipated budget. “Since we didn’t want to cut brick and mortar, the decision was made to cut the equipment budget by this amount,” Haffey’s recalled. “This was very discouraging to the faculty because much of our then current equipment was out of date.
“We became aware of an HCA hospital in Huntington, West Virginia, which was converting its surgical space to one to address drug addiction withdrawal and psychological services. Dr. (Jim) Creed and I visited and took pictures and discussed removal options. If MU would disconnect and remove the equipment, we felt we could get the equipment for 10 cents on the dollar. We convinced Dean (Robert) Kahrs, and the director of procurement, to let us spend $100,000. We worked with the Columbia Public Schools Career Center Truck Driving School to send a truck and driver to Huntington and back for the grand sum of $750. We also rented a large box truck and two of our staff and I drove that to Huntington. A few days later we returned with surgical lights for six of our ORs, three large sterilizers for Central Supply, anesthesia machines, instrument tables and many other items in two truckloads.
“I think this is a good example of how the Veterinary Health Center has had to be and remain creative to stay viable,” Haffey wrote.
Henry also introduced MU Chancellor Alexander Cartwright, PhD, who complimented the VHC team for their ability to get the job done, and for the college’s reputation around the state.
“You should feel good about all of the great work that you have done for all of Missouri,” he said. “It’s actually a pleasure to be out there and be able to talk to people about what’s going on here.”
David Gourley, DVM, a member of the CVM Class of 1993, compared the facilities from his time in school, when the small animal emergency and critical care service operated out of a facility that was “the size of a big closet,” and equine care took place at Middlebush Farm, south of Columbia, to today.
“From the food animal perspective, I think there’s a huge upgrade in safety and security,” he said, adding that having the equine hospital in the same facility with the other services facilitates collaboration that results in superior patient care.
Veterinary Health Center Director David A. Wilson, DVM, MS, DACVS, also addressed the group, thanking the private individuals who had given to the construction of Clydesdale Hall and discussing the growth in caseload — particularly in small animal specialty care, as well as in revenue, the number of faculty and students, and the facility itself since the doors opened. Remodeling and expansion projects have included an ambulatory vehicle building, a suite to house a 3-T MRI, a CT-PET suite and the Motion Analysis Laboratory.
Jane Ebben, RVT, VTS, a technician in the Equine Hospital, joined the college shortly before Clydesdale Hall opened and spent her first few weeks on the job running back and forth between the clinic at Middlebush Farm and the new hospital. She credited her colleagues and the teamwork she enjoys as the reason she has stayed in her position for more than 25 years. In addition to enjoying her work with clients and patients, she commended the college’s students.
“I enjoy working with our students, and I do believe that what we teach our students is very good, lots of hands-on stuff, and we spend a lot of time with them,” she said. “I think we graduate very good doctors.”