History of the College of Veterinary Medicine

Veterinary medicine at the University of Missouri began in 1884. It progressed through five stages: a course in veterinary science, a department of veterinary science, a school of veterinary medicine in the division of agricultural sciences, a school of veterinary medicine as a separate division and, finally, a College of Veterinary Medicine.

In 1885, the first vaccine-virus laboratory in the United States was established at the veterinary science department. A veterinary laboratory was erected in 1887. In early years, staff veterinarians taught courses to medical and agricultural students, conducted research on tick fever and investigated livestock disease throughout the state.

The college's first building, Connaway Hall, was built in 1910-11 to house veterinary science faculty who taught courses to agricultural students, investigated animal and poultry diseases, performed diagnostic and extension work and produced animal vaccines.

The professional curriculum leading to the DVM degree was established in 1946 to offer educational opportunities to World War II veterans. In 1950 26 new veterinarians graduated in the first class.

From 1946 to 1965 there were 30 students, all Missouri residents, in each of the four classes studying for the DVM degree. In 1965, class size doubled, and non-residents were admitted in response to federal funding incentives. These federal "capitation" funds offered to alleviate a national shortage of veterinarians stimulated another class size increase (to 76 students) in 1976. In the early 1980s, the national need for veterinarians stabilized, federal funding was withdrawn and enrollment was lowered in the interest of quality education and efficient space planning. The college has graduated more than 2,800 veterinarians since 1946.

A teaching hospital was built in 1961, and a diagnostic laboratory and a teaching-research building were added in 1977. Clydesdale Hall, a 149,000-square-foot medical teaching hospital, was completed and occupied in March 1993 (and was remodeled in 2000 to remain at the forefront of clinical education). A multi-million-dollar renovation to the veterinary medicine building and Connaway Hall were completed in 1997 and 1998, respectively.

In 2008 the Research Animal Diagnostic Laboratory opened its new $15.5 million facility at Discovery Ridge along U.S. Highway 63 south of Columbia. In that same year, a Regional Biocontainment Laboratory was dedicated on the MU campus. One of 13 such facilities in the country, the state-of-the-art laboratory gives researchers the necessary tools to study emerging infectious diseases such as West Nile virus and tularemia, pathogens commonly found in Missouri, and to assist in national, state and local public-health efforts in the event of a bioterrorist or infectious disease emergency.