50th Anniversary

Side Menu

In 1967 Clyde York, then president of the Tennessee Farm Bureau and member of the UT Board of Trustees, recommended the board ask the university’s administration to study the possibility of establishing a veterinary school to help alleviate the lack of access to veterinarians and provide more Tennesseans the opportunity to attend veterinary school. The board received the go-ahead and began a formal study. At the same time, the Tennessee Farm Bureau passed a resolution requesting a similar feasibility study. The Tennessee Veterinary Medical Association also formed a “School Investigating Committee” and later voted unanimously to support the establishment of a veterinary school in the state.

In 1968, the feasibility study recommended the establishment of a veterinary school on the Knoxville campus. Eventually, the Tennessee Legislature directed the Tennessee Higher Education Commission (THEC) to conduct a formal study. Dr. Willis W. Armistead, dean of Michigan State University’s veterinary college, was hired as the THEC consultant. His Increased Veterinary Services for Tennessee and Consultant’s Report became the foundation for the veterinary college.

In March 1974, legislation passed the House (unanimous vote) and Senate (32-1 vote) establishing a veterinary college. Governor Winfield Dunn signed the legislation on March 19 of that year.


Clyde M York and others at building dedication.
January 1, 2005
Expand content up
January 20 , 2023
Expand content up
TLC Grand Opening
January 23, 1979
Expand content up

Once the veterinary college was established, the search was on for a dean. Dr. W.W. Armistead, the consultant who produced the Increased Veterinary Services for Tennessee and Consultant’s Report, was UT’s top choice. But would he want the position? After all, he was well known nationally in the veterinary profession: he was past president of the American Veterinary Medical Association, the Association of American Veterinary Medical Colleges, was founding editor of the Journal of Veterinary Medical Education, and had served as dean at Texas A & M and Michigan State University. In the summer of 1974, Armistead was named UTCVM dean. He later recalled in a 1987 videotape about the college’s founding that he was “hooked” on Tennessee in part, because of the new program’s unusual amount of support.   

The UT College of Veterinary Medicine’s 50th anniversary celebration continues. We have planned special events throughout the year to thank our faculty, staff, students, alumni, referring veterinarians, clients, and supporters who have been or are our essential partners in the College’s success. We hope you will look forward to our monthly emails throughout 2024 as we highlight a different aspect of the College’s history. This month, hiring a leader.

With his vast experience within the profession, Armistead knew professors all over the country. That served the college well when he hand-selected his faculty and staff. Nancy Smith, administrative secretary and later assistant to the dean was his first hire. Armistead hired department heads to lead the Department of Urban Practice (Dr. Dean Gage), the Department of Rural Practice (Dr. Horace Barron), the Department of Pathobiology (Dr. Robert Michel), and the Department of Environmental Practice (Dr. Hyram Kitchen). The heads of the UT Department of Animal Science (Dr. Ronald Johnson), and Department of Microbiology (Dr. Arthur Brown), were already at the University. Armistead and the department heads selected Dr. William Grau as associate dean for resident instruction and Dr. Charles Reed as associate dean for development.

– 50th Anniversary Committee, with gratitude to Dr. Nancy Howell, author of A Recent Past, An Unlimited Future.

UT College of Veterinary Medicine Original Faculty
May 1976 Left to right, first row: Alfred Legendre, Wayne Baldwin, E. Dean Gage, Arthur Brown, and Hyram Kitchen. Second row: Ronald Johnson, Desmond Doyle, Gerald Bratton, R.L. Michel, Robert Sholtens, and David Brian. Third row: Royce Roberts, Ralph Hall, William Grau Jr., Jack Oliver, and C.F. Reed. Fourth row: D.J. Krahwinkel, Joe Oden, H. T. Barron, and W. W. Armistead (not pictured – Donald McGavin)
stock image of a dog
Feb 2, 2008
Expand content up
UTCVM celebrates 1,000,000th Patient
Photo of Dr. Hyram Kitchen, UTCVM’s second dean.
FEB. 8, 1990
Expand content up
UTCVM Dean Kitchen is murdered at his home. Michael Shires is named interim dean.
aaalac red and black logo
Feb 22, 1983
Expand content up
UTCVM receives AALAC accreditation
(left to right) Buddy Moore, Michael Blackwell, Dennis Geiser, Jim Brace, John New, and Leon Potgieter hold the 2003 Commitment Award
Feb 23, 2004
Expand content up
Pictured (left to right) Buddy Moore, Michael Blackwell, Dennis Geiser, Jim Brace, John New, Leon Potgieter
February is Black History Month
Expand content up
Celebrating our Pioneers

The UT College of Veterinary Medicine’s 50th anniversary celebration continues, and this month heralds Founder’s Day. Throughout the year we have planned special events to thank our faculty, staff, students, alumni, referring veterinarians, clients, and supporters who have been or are our essential partners in the College’s success. We hope you will look forward to our monthly emails throughout 2024 as we highlight a different aspect of the College’s history. This month, brick by brick.

In 1973, a tract of land on the agricultural campus facing Neyland Drive and the Tennessee River was identified for the new veterinary building. In a 1993 interview with Nancy Howell for A Recent Past, An Unlimited Future, Dr. Joe Johnson said there was never any question about where to locate the school. “That was the only logical place to put a veterinary school because of the land grant mission of the university, the Institute of Agriculture, and UT’s large faculty.”

On April 3, 1976, faculty, staff, and governmental leaders attended a groundbreaking ceremony for the new building. Originally, the College of Agriculture used the land for field test plots. Dr. Leonard Josephson chronicled the construction of the veterinary college with periodic photographs from his office window in the Plant and Soil Sciences Building. He later gave the slides to Dean Armistead and noted on the envelope that the land was “originally a useful and profitable acreage.”

A series of photographs showing a plot of land being transformed from green agricultural test plots to construction equipment on bare soil to a three-story brick building
Photos Dr. Leonard Josephson took from his office window in the Plant and Soil Sciences Building as the veterinary building was being built. The one on the left was taken in 1971, the one in the middle in July 1976, and the one on the right October 1977.

Dean W.W. Armistead had estimated design and construction of the facility would be $ 17 million and the legislature appropriated all the money at one time. The college was designed and built on schedule with enough money to almost double the size of the Agriculture-Veterinary Library. Construction of the veterinary building took about two years. In September 1978, faculty, staff, and students moved into the new facility. Previously, classes had been held at Cherokee Farm.

The white buildings that served as a temporary small animal clinic while the veterinary building was being constructed.
While the veterinary building was being built, clinics were housed at Cherokee Farm.

– 50th Anniversary Committee, with gratitude to Dr. Nancy Howell, author of A Recent Past, An Unlimited Future.

April 3, 1976 Groundbreaking ceremony for new veterinary building. From left: Dr. William Armistead, dean; Dr. Ed Boling, UT  president; Gov. Ray Blanton; D. Jack Reese, UTK chancellor
April 3, 1976 Groundbreaking ceremony for the new veterinary building on the agricultural campus. From left: Dr. William Armistead, dean; Dr. Ed Boling, UT president; Gov. Ray Blanton; D. Jack Reese, UTK chancellor
Bald Eagle on a perch
MARCH 1, 1999
Expand content up
Third-year ophthalmology resident, Dr. Margaret Cawrse, performs the first cataract surgery on a bald eagle
Attendees during a break at the Annual Conference in 1980
MARCH 4, 1980
Expand content up
First UTCVM Annual Conference for Veterinary Practitioners held
MARCH 11, 1974
Expand content up
Legislation passed the house and senate to establish UTCVM
UT College of Veterinary Medicine Original Faculty
MARCH 19, 1974
Expand content up
FOUNDER’S DAY! Gov. Winfield Dunn Signed Legislation to establish UTCVM
MARCH 23, 2017
Expand content up
First black bear transfusion
Attendees looking at microscopes at the first UTCVM open house in 1980
MARCH 29, 1980
Expand content up
First UTCVM Open House
Cover of a multiple page feasibility study by W.W. Armistead in 1968.
MARCH 30, 1968
Expand content up
Feasibility study recommended establishment of a vet school on Knoxville
A group of UTCVM faculty, staff, and supporters with shovels during the groundbreaking of the EPRC in 2011
MARCH 31, 2011
Expand content up
EPRC Groundbreaking





UTCVM Historical Events in April

April 1, 1986
Expand content up
April 1, 1988
Expand content up
April 1, 2001
Expand content up
April 3
Expand content up
April 4
Expand content up

Celebrate 50 years of UTCVM

Celebrating 50 years!

The College has had many significant events, milestones, and discoveries throughout the years, and there are too many to include in this calendar. We welcome your thoughts on additional milestones to highlight other ways through the years.

Please visit tiny.utk.edu/UTCVMSubmitEvents and share them with us. – 50th Anniversary Committee

Celebrating a UTCVM Anniversary in April!

Julia Albright-Keck2011
Elizabeth Allen2003
Michelle Campbell-Brinyark2018
Chiara De Caro Carella Hampton2021
Elizabeth Drake2013
Jessica Gibbs2022
Jessica Gordon2023
LaTonya Harrison2012
Melinda Hauser1990
Jana Jinks2018
Megan Johnson2020
Liza Koster2019
David Lufkin2020
Dennis Makau2024
Emily Messer2022
Lucas Morgan2022
Johnny Mullins2015
Krista Rankin2022
Barry Rouse1977
Zoe Stoloff2022
Rebecca Strickland2017
Chrstine Weaver1992
Arielle Wolff2018
Stephen Tinkel1982
Lisa Abney1984
Charles Lambrecht1991
Lillian Gerhardt1992
Katie Lee1995
Dawnya Breeding1999
Jennifer Daniels2004
Robert Dobbins2004
Angela Rollins2006
Abigail Bohm2007
Noreen Gadzekp2008
Jessica Birdwell2008
Stephanie Boyd2013
Chika Okafor2015
Xiaohui Li2015
Lori Cole2016
Courtney Komjathy2016
Donna Longmire2017
Sarah Byrge2018
Elizabeth Croy2018
Elizabeth Collar2020
Lillian Carranza2020
Ruth Watts-Yates2020
Nicole Bissonnette2021
Austin Johnson2022
Liana Barbosa2022
Tracy Dolan2022
Amanda Massey2022
Nora Springer2022
Bailey Acord2022
Aurora Parker2022
Kylie Henriksen2022
Bethany Myerow2022
Roman Husnik2023
Angela Kites2023
Danielle Tarbert2023
Emilia Terradas Crespo2023
Amy Sanderson2023
Misti Henry1996
Sandra Harbison1999
Erica Blackwell Israel2003
Kimberly Fortner2012
Kenneth McClain2012
Mary Gulley2013
David Cowles2014
Hannah Palko2018
Bethanie Poe2018
Pearl Kirkland-Smith2019
Hannah Cruz Enriquez2020
Prachi Namjoshi2021
Renee Smith2022
Cassandra Frazer2022
Kayla McConkey2022
Kimiko Liles2022
Sierra Carver2023
Amber Lambdin2023
Sheila Martellio2023
Alexandra Tanner2023
Abby Herrell2023
Tracy Carter1990
Jimmy Hayes1999
Kimberly Newkirk2007
Cassandra Meitner2008
Jonathan Martin2011
Jena West2011
Luca Giori2014
Andrew Cushing2015
Bonnylee Kennedy2017
Amber Barnett2020
Daniel Stafford2020
Dawn Martin2020
Margaret Wood2020
Kandace Tew2021
Clinton Miller2021
Shelby Halliday2022
Sherri Sweeney2022
Jeanine Baine2022
Kaleena Scarbro2022
Michelle Whitt2023
Patricia Kelb2023
Nicole Kali2023