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Vet School Celebrates 25th Anniversary

Vet School Celebrates 25th AnniversaryIn just a quarter of a century, Tufts School of Veterinary Medicine – the only school of its kind in New England – has made a lion’s mark. No. Grafton, Mass.

Boston [05.23.03] What began as two labs and a lecture room has quickly grown into one of the nation's leading schools in veterinary medicine. For the faculty, students and alumni, this summer marks the beginning of the 25th anniversary of the institution - the only one of its kind in New England - which is holding a year-long celebration of the school's first quarter century.

"It is one of the younger schools in the United States, but its reputation has grown beyond its years," Dr. Lawrence E. Heider, executive director of the Association of American Veterinary Medical Colleges told the Worcester Telegram & Gazette. "Its graduates excel and it has a strong academic program."

In its 25 years, the Tufts School of Veterinary Medicine - once limited to the care of cats, dogs, horses and other animals - has grown into a multifaceted school, training veterinarians to enter fields as diverse as traditional veterinary medicine as well as biotechnology, public health, medical research, public policy, conservation medicine and animal welfare.

"It's one of the leaders in animal welfare, thanks to [late former Dean] Dr. Frank Loew," Heider told the Telegram & Gazette. "They have been visionary in animal welfare."

The 36 graduates of the first class were invited back to campus last Sunday to watch 81 students receive doctor of veterinary medicine degrees at commencement. Like the students of the first graduating class, said Dean Philip C. Kosch, Tufts Veterinary School has come a long way.

"We've arrived," Kosch told the Telegram & Gazette. "We're a mature, established school."

Kosch - who is also a professor of comparative medicine - told the Telegram & Gazette that in the beginning, Tufts was "a start-up vet school with an upstart attitude."

Dr. Steven Rowell agrees that the veterinary school has made leaps and bounds since its early days. One of the first graduates of the school, he remembered his wife asking "So, where is it?" when they first arrived in 1979.

Rowell - now director of the large and small animal hospitals at Tufts Veterinary School - told the Telegram & Gazette that he felt lucky to get in to the young program, which was then partially operated out of Tufts School of Medicine on the University's Boston health sciences campus.

"The first few anatomy labs were outdoors with Boston police horses," Rowell told the Telegram & Gazette.

The school has grown from two laboratories and lecture room to having its own campus in North Grafton, Mass. Rowell told the Telegram & Gazette that he never doubted that the school would expand to the institution it is today.

"Those were exciting times," Rowell told the Telegram & Gazette. "I knew we had the drive, the commitment, and the spirit to carry it off."

Dean Kosch told the newspaper that he expects even more from the school in the future.

"The challenge is to keep the edge," Kosch told the Telegram & Gazette. "We're always looking for the next opportunity."

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