The University of Illinois College of Veterinary Medicine

The University of Illinois College of Veterinary Medicine is distinguished as an innovator in veterinary education and service delivery with a rich history of contributions in biomedical research and leadership in the veterinary profession.

The college enrolled its first class—twenty-four veterans of World War II—in 1948. By 2014, the class size had risen to more than 120, and the college had introduced a pioneering veterinary curriculum that provides students with early clinical rotations and that integrates basic and clinical science material in core courses to foster clinical competence and understanding. The college also established the nation’s most extensive clinical skills learning center.

Approximately 100 faculty members and instructors work within the college’s three academic departments—Comparative Biosciences, Pathobiology, and Veterinary Clinical Medicine. Prominent areas of research focus include reproductive biology and toxicology, as well as oncology, stem cell therapy, and viral, bacterial, and fungal infectious disease. Residency programs encompass most veterinary clinical specialties as well as pharmacologic, pathologic, and toxicologic fields. 

Clinical service is delivered in Urbana and Chicago, Ill., through the Veterinary Teaching Hospital, the Veterinary Diagnostic Laboratory and its Zoological Pathology Program, and the student-run Wildlife Medical Clinic as well as the dog-and-cat clinical services provided through the Chicago Center for Veterinary Medicine, the college’s metropolitan headquarters for clinical service, education, and recruitment. 

The college is also known as a leader in veterinary continuing education through its Executive Veterinary Program, Veterinary Education Online, and additional programming that extends the expertise of the faculty in a wide range of areas.

  • 1948 - The new University of Illinois College of Veterinary Medicine enrolled its first Doctor of Veterinary Medicine degree class, comprised of 24 veterans of World War II.
  • 1948 - Dr. Norman D. Levine, known as the “Father of Modern Protozoology,” joined the veterinary faculty when the college was established in 1948, and continued scholarly productivity many years after receiving emeritus status in 1983. He was an internationally respected authority on parasitology and on the taxonomy of the protozoa. Among his many books are the two-volume The Protozoan Phylum Apicomplexa (he had named this phylum) and the text Veterinary Protozoology, which was first issued in 1961 and revised in 1973 and 1985.
  • 1962  - Dr. John Thurmon joined the Illinois faculty and, in 1975, helped establish the American College of Veterinary Anesthesiologists. In conjunction with Drs. William Tranquilli and John Benson, Illinois provided leadership in advancing veterinary anesthesia, particularly injectable anesthesia and analgesia, including the development of “triple drip” anesthesia for large animals.
  • 1970 -  The college adopted the first computer-assisted instructional program in the world, called PLATO (Programmed Logic for Automatic Teaching Operations), which was developed on the Urbana campus in the 1960s. Within four years, nearly 400 hours of instructional material drawn from throughout the veterinary curriculum were made available through PLATO. The college remains a pioneer in the use of emerging educational technologies.
  • 1972  - Dr. Lloyd Davis and colleagues published a seminal paper in veterinary pharmacology on “species differences in transformation and excretion of salicylate,” that demonstrated for the first time that dose regimens cannot be extrapolated from one species to another, a common practice prior to that time.
  • 1978 - Dr. William Buck and his graduate students established the first animal-oriented poison hot line, answering calls around-the-clock using a paging service and tapping into their extensive database of information specific to animal poisoning. The National Animal Poison Control Center operated at the College of Veterinary Medicine from 1978 to 1996, when it was transferred to the ASPCA.
  • 1979 - Dr. Robert Twardock pioneered the field of equine nuclear medicine, developing non-invasive techniques for diagnosis of equine lameness and lung problems that had gone otherwise undetected by conventional diagnostic techniques.
  • 1980s - Dr. Ann Johnson and colleagues pioneered the use of models to teach surgical skills to veterinary students. This work paved the way for the establishment of the college’s comprehensive Clinical Skills Learning Center in 2009.
  • 1991 - Dr. Wanda Haschek-Hock coauthored the first edition of Haschek and Rousseaux's Handbook of Toxicologic Pathology. The single-volume first edition became the definitive text in the field and was replaced in 2002 with a two-volume second edition and in 2013 with a three-volume third edition; Dr. Matthew Wallig, also on the Illinois faculty, was a coauthor on the second and third editions.
  • 1991 - An era of equine sports medicine research was launched with the acquisition of a horse treadmill capable of carrying a horse galloping at 30 miles per hour. Dr. Jonathan Foreman’s work on exercising horses in heat and humidity influenced the monitoring of equestrian sports at the 1996 Atlanta Olympics 1996, and Drs. Thomas Goetz and Murli Manohar elucidated the mechanisms and drugs used to treat exercise-induced pulmonary hemorrhage, which affects up to 90% of racing Thoroughbred horses.
  • 1991 -  Illinois introduced the Executive Veterinary Program in Swine Health Management, a two-year certificate program focused on business, communication and strategic planning skills; over the following 23 years, more than 200 top swine veterinarians and producers, including many representing the world’s largest pork companies, participated in this award-winning program.
  • 1993 - The college’s Zoological Pathology Program was founded as a two-person service that provided comprehensive diagnostic services to institutions in the Chicago area. It has grown to a six-person service that works with federal wildlife agencies, zoos, and conservation organizations on three continents and has an international reputation for excellence in diagnostic service, scholarship, and education of residents and veterinary students.
  • 2001 - Dr. Susan Schantz established the FRIENDS Children’s Environmental Health Center, funded by EPA and NIEHS, to investigate the interactive effects of PCBs and methyl mercury (MeHg) on neurodevelopment; in 2013 she received full funding for a second Children’s Environmental Health Center, to study effects of plastics chemicals on human development.
  • 2005 - Dr. Indrani Bagchi develops and in 2006 applies for a patent for Ulipristal, an emergency contraceptive using endothelin receptor antagonists. In 2012 she became the second faculty member, after Dr. Paul Cooke, to hold the college’s endowed Field Chair in Reproductive Biology.
  • 2008 -  Dr. Val Beasley, who for decades investigated causes of worldwide declines amphibian species, coauthored an article in Nature reporting on the impact of agrochemicals in increasing trematode infections in amphibians.
  • 2009 - The College of Veterinary Medicine introduced an innovative integrated curriculum that added 24 weeks of clinical rotations in the first three years of the program and tested students with written and clinical “milestone examinations” at two points in their studies.
  • 2009 - The College of Veterinary Medicine opened the Chicago Center for Veterinary Medicine, its headquarters for clinical service, education, and recruitment in the state’s urban center.
1948 to present.
  • Many alumni and faculty have served as elected presidents of veterinary specialty organizations or as university presidents, including: Dr. Erwin Small (IL DVM ’56), president, ACVIM’s Specialty of Small Animal Internal Medicine and American College of Veterinary Dermatology; Dr. John Thurmon, president, American College of Veterinary Anesthesiology; Dr. Brendan McKiernan, president, Comparative Respiratory Society; Dr. Lloyd Helper (IL DVM ’55), president, American College of Veterinary Ophthalmology; Dr. Ann Johnson, president, American College of Veterinary Surgeons; Dr. Wanda Haschek, president, Society of Toxicologic Pathology and Society of Toxicology’s Comparative and Veterinary Specialty Section; Dr. Karen Campbell, president, American College of Veterinary Dermatology; Dr. Sandra Manfra, president, American Veterinary Dental College; Dr. Anthony A. Frank (IL DVM ’85), president, Colorado State University; Dr. Joe DiPietro, (IL DVM ’86), president, University of Tennessee.