University of Missouri-Columbia College of Veterinary Medicine

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College of Veterinary Medicine History

PHOTO: In the 1950's, veterinary medical students relied on the microscope as their primary diagnostic tool.

In the 1950's, veterinary medical students relied on the microscope as their primary diagnostic tool.

Veterinary medicine at the University of Missouri began in 1884. It progressed through five stages — a course in veterinary science, a department of veterinary science, a school of veterinary medicine in the division of agricultural sciences, a school of veterinary medicine as a separate division, and finally, a College of Veterinary Medicine.

In 1885, the first vaccine-virus laboratory in the United States was established at the veterinary science department. A veterinary laboratory was erected in 1887. In early years, staff veterinarians taught courses to medical and agricultural students, conducted research on tick fever, and investigated livestock disease throughout the state.

The College's first building, Connaway Hall, was built in 1910-11 to house veterinary science faculty who taught courses to agricultural students, investigated animal and poultry diseases, performed diagnostic and extension work, and produced animal vaccines.

The professional curriculum leading to the DVM degree was established in 1946 to offer educational opportunities to World War II veterans. In 1950, 26 new veterinarians graduated in the first class.

PHOTO: In the 1950's, veterinary medical students relied on the microscope as their primary diagnostic tool.


From 1946-65 there were 30 students, all Missouri residents, in each of the four classes studying for the DVM degree. In 1965, class size doubled and non-residents were admitted in response to federal funding incentives. These federal “capitation” funds offered to alleviate a national shortage of veterinarians and stimulated another class size increase (to 76 students) in 1976. In the early 80's, the national need for veterinarians stabilized, federal funding was withdrawn and enrollment was lowered in the interest of quality education and efficient space planning. The College has graduated more than 2,600 veterinarians since 1946.

A teaching hospital was built in 1961, and a diagnostic laboratory and a teaching-research building were added in 1977. Clydesdale Hall, a 149,000-sq.-ft. medical teaching hospital, was completed and occupied in March 1993 (and was remodeled in 2000 to remain at the forefront of clinical education). A multi-million dollar renovation to the veterinary medicine building and Connaway Hall were completed in 1997 and 1998, respectively.

College of Veterinary Medicine
W-203 Veterinary Medicine Building
Columbia, MO 65211
Phone: (573) 882-3554
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Last Update: February 29, 2012