Cornell University College of Veterinary Medicine

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Cornell University
College of Veterinary Medicine
Established 1894
Type Contract
Veterinary school
Dean Lorin Warnick
Academic staff
Postgraduates 335[2]
Location Ithaca, New York, U.S.

The New York State College of Veterinary Medicine at Cornell University was founded in 1894. It was the first statutory college in New York, and is affiliated with the State University of New York (SUNY) system. Before the creation of the college, instruction in veterinary medicine had been part of Cornell's curriculum since the university's founding. In 1868, when Cornell opened, there was little formal study of veterinary medicine in the United States; with the creation of the veterinary school, Cornell became a pioneer in the field.


Cornell co-founder Ezra Cornell requested the creation of a chair of veterinary medicine. Cornell's other co-founder and first president, Andrew Dickson White, was asked by Ezra Cornell to find the best-qualified person to teach veterinary-related courses at the university. Dr. James Law, from the Edinburgh Veterinary College in Scotland, was chosen for this role. Under pressure from Dr. Law, Cornell set unprecedented standards for veterinary degrees: four years' study for a bachelor's degree in the field, and two years' additional study for a doctoral degree in the field. (Later, when New York State finally established Cornell's Veterinary College, a high school diploma would be required to be admitted to it, which was a high requirement for the time). The first D.V.M. degree from Cornell was awarded in 1876 to Daniel Elmer Salmon, a man who went on to become the founding head of the U.S. Bureau of Animal Industry. He is also noted for initiating the fight against contagious diseases. The school was also a pioneer in educating female veterinarians.

Deans of the NYS College of Veterinary Medicine
James Law 1894–1908
Veranus Alva Moore 1908–1929
Pierre Augustine Fish 1929–1931
William Arthur Hagan 1932–1959
George C. Poppensiek 1959–1974
Edward C. Melby, Jr. 1975–1984
Robert D. Phemister 1985–1995
Franklin M. Loew 1995–1997
Donald F. Smith 1997–2007
Michael I. Kotlikoff 2007–2015
Lorin Warnick 2015-present

State legislation creating Cornell's Veterinary College[3] was signed on March 21, 1894 by former New York Governor Roswell P. Flower, a man who had become convinced of the value of veterinary medicine to the health of people by virtue of prior personal farm experience. The enabling legislation creating the college also provided state funds for a veterinary building at Cornell. The building opened in the fall of 1896.[4] The state funded a new veterinary complex for Cornell and the college in 1957 on the east edge of the campus. Today, this complex is the largest veterinary complex in higher education in the United States.[5]


Veterinary Research Center

Cornell's College of Veterinary Medicine is one of the few veterinary schools in the Northeastern United States and one of 28 such colleges and schools in the United States. The college is noted for its comprehensive programs, including the Cornell University Hospital for Animals, the Animal Health Diagnostic Center, which houses the New York State Diagnostic Laboratory, the Baker Institute for Animal Health, a center for canine and equine research, the Feline Health Center, and biomedical research laboratories.

The innovative DVM degree program includes combined problem -based and didactic instruction in the biological basis of medicine, training in primary and referral veterinary care in the veterinary teaching hospital and ambulatory services, and instructed practice in the Community Practice Service primary care clinic. Direct access to numerous innovative dairy farms in the upstate New York region facilitate training in food animal medicine. Cornell is consistently ranked the best veterinary college in the nation.[6]

The College of Veterinary Medicine offers programs in veterinary medicine that lead to the degrees of D.V.M., and M.S. and Ph.D. through the Cornell Graduate School. Cornell's College of Veterinary Medicine also consistently ranks amongst the best in its field, being regularly selected as the best college for veterinary medicine by U.S. News & World Report's America's Best Colleges edition.

Capital Project

The CVM Pre-Clinical Class Expansion Project is a facility renovation and new construction project that will enable the College to address the following key factors:

-limited access to a Cornell veterinary education for New York State students; -competitive disadvantage and a declining impact among top-tier institutions; -need for additional revenue to replace decline in New York State funding; and, -existing hospital capacity to train additional Cornell veterinary students.

This capital project will allow the College to maximize the capacity of the teaching hospitals with Cornell-trained students. Currently, we train approximately 120 students during the fourth year, but only just over 100 of those students have completed their pre-clinical studies at Cornell. With this renovation, Cornell will be able to train 120 students in each of the pre-clinical years. Once fully implemented, Cornell's DVM enrollment will stand at approximately 480 students in total, or 120 students per class year. The entering class enrollment for the past two years has been 102 students. The facility project will include renovation and expansion of classrooms, teaching laboratories, cafeteria, locker rooms and shower facilities. The project will also create a new entrance off Tower Road that will unite the entrances for Schurman Hall, the Veterinary Education Center, and the Veterinary Research Tower and establish appropriate public atrium space for large gatherings and presentations.[7]


  1. About the College of Veterinary Medicine at Cornell University
  2. Cornell Factbook - Professional Schools Enrollment
  3. N.Y.S. Education Law § 5711.
  4. It is now a part of Ives Hall.
  5. Retrieved 2009-01-07,
  6. Vet College is No. 1 in U.S. News rankings
  7. "[1]". Cornell University College of Veterinary Medicine. Web. 20 Apr. 2015.

External links