School of Veterinary Medicine
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Produced by the UC Davis Emeriti Association
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History in the making: School of Veterinary Medicine
After 60 years, the School of Veterinary Medicine remains one of a kind. It is the first professional school at UC Davis, the only veterinary school in the UC system, and the only public school in California authorized to confer the Doctor of Veterinary Medicine degree. Though campus leaders had planned to open the school in 1949 or 1950, pre-veterinary students fresh from World War II convinced administrators to begin classes in September 1948.
As the fourth and longest serving dean for the School of Veterinary Medicine, William Pritchard became known as the “dean of vision” for his school. During his 1962-82 tenure, he is credited with a four-fold increase in class size, the creation of graduate clinical residencies and leading a major reform of the veterinary school curriculum. “Davis was a very exciting place in 1962,” he recalls. “There was much excitement in the process of growing and planning for the developmnent of this campus.” Pritchard says Chancellor Emil Mrak was a dynamic leader who led the adventure.
Edward Rhode was the fifth dean of the veterinary school, serving from 1982 to 1991. The longtime faculty member started in 1951 and focused his research and teaching career in physiology and cardiology. As an administrator, Rhode was pivotal in developing the California Veterinary Diagnostic Laboratory and the Tulare Program, an off-campus satellite center. In addition, Dean Rhode oversaw the expansion of instructional, research and other organized activities, as well as significant growth in private support for veterinary programs.
John Osebold taught immunology and microbiology to 35 veterinary medical classes during his career. A specialist in infectious diseases, he joined UC Davis as a lecturer and assistant specialist in the Agricultural Experiment Station in 1950 and joined the School of Veterinary Medicine faculty as a professor of immunology in the department of Veterinary Microbiology and Immunology three years later. In 1965, he became chair of the Department of Veterinary Microbiology and held this position until 1969.
Robert Cello was a graduate of the world’s first veterinary school-based program in zoological medicine. It was, of course, established at UC Davis under Murray Fowler. Cello, in turn, started UC Davis’ veterinary medicine program in ophthalmology. He was also the Veterinary Medical Teaching Hospital’s facility’s first director. During his time, the teaching hospital become one of the nation’s most progressive centers for clinical veterinary medicine and a chief scientific engine to power the development of veterinary medicine in the U.S. during the 1970s and ’80s.
Jiro “Jerry” Kaneko
Jiro “Jerry” Kaneko was hired in 1950 as a biochemist in the Clinical Pathology Program. He was one of the few from the graduate school who also taught undergraduates interested in pursuing a career in the health sciences. In the 1970s, Kaneko authored a book on biochemistry for veterinarians that has been reissued at least five times. After retirement, Kaneko served on the Davis City Council and has been active in civic affairs since.