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CVM History

In 1944, a member of the American Veterinary Medical Association’s Postwar Planning Committee named Milton Leonard made a statement regarding the alarming shortage of veterinarians and proposed adding more veterinary colleges, one of which Leonard felt should be in North Carolina. From there began a decades-long adventure of creating the NC State College of Veterinary Medicine, one of the top ranked veterinary programs in the United States.

Starting in 1951, agreements were put in place between the Southern Regional Educational Board and NC State to send students to other universities offering veterinary medical programs to start addressing the needs for additional veterinarians. Meanwhile, by 1958 The North Carolina Veterinary Medical Association (NCVMA) chartered the North Carolina Veterinary Research Foundation; the foundation focused on garnering interest and support in establishing a veterinary medical school in North Carolina.

After several years of discussions with the state legislature and continued support from the North Carolina population, in 1967 the NCVMA passes two resolutions proposing that a School of Veterinary Medicine be established at NC State: one to the Office of the President, University of North Carolina, and the second to North Carolina Governor Robert Scott. Then, on March 10, 1970, Governor Robert Scott appointed a committee to look at the feasibility of establishing a veterinary school.

By 1979, the state government appropriated $22,500,000, making a total of $31,580,000 capital funds available for construction and equipment to create the veterinary school. The NC State College of Veterinary Medicine, at the time called the NC State School of Veterinary Medicine, was finally coming to fruition.

Dr. Terrence Curtain began his tenure as inaugural Dean on February 1, 1979, and just six days later, on February 7, ground-breaking ceremonies were held next to the Dairy Pavilion. Throughout 1980, faculty began to arrive in preparation for the first class of students to begin their coursework in 1981. The college’s facilities were dedicated in 1983 and the college was fully accredited two years later.  

Over 40 years after Milton Leonard’s suggestion of a veterinary school in North Carolina, and because of the tireless effort from the veterinary community, state legislators and the great people of North Carolina, the first class of veterinarians were able to graduate from NC State in 1985.

List of Deans

1979-1992: Terrence M. Curtin, Dean of School of Veterinary Medicine (1979-1987) and Dean of College of Veterinary Medicine (1987-1992)

1992-2004: Oscar J. Fletcher, Dean of College of Veterinary Medicine

2004-2010: Warwick A. Arden, Dean of College of Veterinary Medicine

2010-2012: David G. Bristol, Interim Dean of College of Veterinary Medicine

2012-2022: D. Paul Lunn, Dean of College of Veterinary Medicine

2022-: Kathryn M. Meurs, Dean of College of Veterinary Medicine

The college’s leaders must have the courage to be bold, and they must be willing to fail in order to reach ambitious goals. That level of courage will always keep NC State among the world’s top-ranked veterinary colleges.

Terrence Curtin