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7:05 PM   April 20, 2014
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Oregon State Proudly Independent

By Ken Niedziela

The nation’s smallest veterinary school is growing fast.

In just the past six years Oregon State University’s College of Veterinary Medicine has cut its ties to the Washington State University veterinary program and completed a massive makeover of Magruder Hall, its home base.

No longer do students have to get their small-animal clinical education in Pullman, Wash. Now they enjoy all the features of a traditional veterinary education in the picturesque city of Corvallis, Ore.

“We were able, on the basis of new funding and capital improvements, to have students stay all four years at Oregon State,” says the college’s dean, Cyril R. Clarke, BVSc, Ph.D., Dipl. ACVCP. “The Class of 2010 will be the fourth class to complete all four years of the program here at Oregon State.”

The College of Veterinary Medicine graduated its first class of 36 students in 1983. Enrollment jumped to 48 students and later to 56. Dr. Clarke foresees a day when even more veterinary students choose to attend Oregon State.

At a Glance

Location: Corvallis, Ore.

DVM Enrollment: 196

Degree Programs: DVM, MS, Ph.D.

Annual Tuition and Fees: $18,628 (state), $35,953 (out of state)

Alumni (1983-2008): 916

Website: www.OregonState.edu/vetmed 

“I would anticipate that the enrollment will need to increase modestly in future years so that we can meet the educational aspirations not only of Oregonians but the many students across the U.S. who don’t have the opportunity to go to vet schools,” he says. “Also, I think a modest increase is necessary to improve the cost-effectiveness of the educational process.

“One of the benefits of having a small class is that we have ample opportunity for instructors to get to know their students on a personal level and to adopt strategies and pay attention to learning in each and every student.”

Magruder Hall served its purpose well when the first class arrived in 1979, but over the years college administrators saw the need to keep up with the times. The first phase of a multimillion-dollar expansion project was completed in 2005. The years that followed saw a significant upgrade to the large-animal clinical facilities, the construction of a large-animal isolation area, small-animal clinic and covered arena, and the installation of a $170,000 high-speed equine treadmill.

“Walking in the door, the impression is of a modern and up-to-date facility,” Clarke says. “We intend to keep it that way even with the budgetary constraints that I think we’re all experiencing at this time.”

The facilities available to students, both on and off campus, include:

  • The Veterinary Diagnostic Laboratory, which is part of the National Animal Health Laboratory Network.
  • Lois Bates Acheson Teaching Hospital, which treats both large- and small-animal patients.
  • Hatfield Marine Sciences Center in Newport, Ore., where students learn about marine ecosystems and how to care for exotic fish.
  • The Animal Medical Learning Center in Portland, Ore., which treats about 12,000 patients a year in collaboration with the Oregon Humane Society.

Fourth-year students stay in dormitories during their clinical rotation in Portland.

“They get a huge amount of experience in surgery and medical care of companion animals with a focus on shelter medicine,” Clarke says.

Of course, to get to Portland a prospective student needs to win admission to the College of Veterinary Medicine.

“We’re looking for people with a passion for the profession and a passion for the diversity of opportunities that exist in the profession,” Clarke says. “To be successful, students need to be well prepared from an education viewpoint and they need to be well prepared from a non-technical skills viewpoint.

“By that I mean they must be willing and ready to learn to communicate with people, how to interact with people, but principally how to acquire those technical and other skills necessary to serve their communities.” <HOME>

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