Veterinary School Kicks Off 75th Anniversary Celebration

Activities Began Last Weekend With Alumni, Donors and Other Guests

View from above with people spelling out 7-5 on the grass
UC Davis School of Veterinary Medicine kicked off its 75th anniversary celebrations in April. (Kevin Ulrich/UC Davis)

The UC Davis School of Veterinary Medicine kicked off its 75th anniversary last weekend with a host of celebrations and activities. Events started with a luncheon for key donors and guests — including George Puterbaugh from the inaugural Class of 1952. Debbie Wilson, executive director of development, and Mary Croughan, provost and executive vice chancellor, offered heart-felt remarks about the roles the veterinary school has played in their lives.

Dean Mark Stetter presented Valerie and Larry Casey with the El Blanco Award — one of the school’s highest honors that recognizes contributions that animal owners and other benefactors have made to advance animal health and well-being. 

Assistant Professor Crystal Rogers served as master of ceremonies as the luncheon continued with a panel discussion on recent scientific discoveries and the future direction of veterinary medicine.

Man and woman sitting at table outside
George Puterbaugh, pictured with his wife, Sharon, graduated from the UC Davis School of Veterinary Medicine in 1952. (Trina Wood/UC Davis)

Guests then had the opportunity to visit the veterinary medicine campus and listen to presentations on curing cancer in dogs and humans, saving shelter animal lives, and helping animals during disasters. The afternoon concluded with tours of the advanced veterinary surgery center and the Gourley Clinical Teaching Center.

Friday evening, the greater veterinary community gathered with alumni for a BBQ accompanied by live music from the Don Los Angeles band that included faculty members Brian Leonard and Scott Katzman.

Dean Stetter thanked everyone for joining in the celebrations and highlighted Mieko Temple from the Class of 2025 for her winning 75th anniversary poster design.

Saturday morning kicked off with the annual Oscar W. Schalm Lectureship, established in 1988 to honor a founding faculty member of the school and an eminent teacher and research scientist in the fields of bovine mastitis, diagnostic veterinary hematology and clinical pathology. Ivan Schwab, professor emeritus of ophthalmology, presented a lecture on “Sensory Diversity and the Eye,” describing how some animals use alternate sensory mechanisms combined with visual pathways, as well as discussing the evolution of these animals. The Class of 1973 then enjoyed a 50th reunion brunch (along with other class years) followed by tours of the teaching and clinical facilities.


Saturday evening, alumni gathered for a celebration dinner — that began with a standing ovation for Puterbaugh — and the presentation of Alumni Achievement Awards.

The school’s position as No. 1 in the nation is made possible by the ingenuity and dedication of individuals who built the school’s foundation and continue to advance veterinary medicine today. Their commitment to a world-class institution continues to be reflected in research facilities, classrooms, clinics and beyond — making a difference for animals, people and the planet. Read more about the history of the school in the spring edition of Synergy.

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