"Tales of pioneer hardship and deprivation have been told many times. Yet still we remember in wonder, that people accomplished so much with so little; that men and women with simple tools, their bare hands, and their own inventiveness cleared the land, drained the swamps, made their own clothing and provided their own food. Through all these difficulties God was with them and they wanted their children educated intellectually and spritually." from Norfolk Street United Church history

Thursday, June 13, 2013

New Book Traces History of Ontario Veterinary College

GUELPH, Ontario - June 12, 2013 - University of Guelph News Release - With 150 years of history come a number of stories, images and successes, and the Ontario Veterinary College (OVC) will celebrate all of these with the release of a new book this Alumni Weekend.

Milestones: 150 Years of the Ontario Veterinary College includes photos and details from the opening of the first veterinary college in Canada and the United States to today’s OVC. The book will be available for purchase during Alumni Weekend, and later on Amazon.com.

Co-authors Lisa Cox, a PhD history candidate, and OVC associate dean Peter Conlon dug through the University archives and interviewed former faculty and donors to find the 150 most interesting stories.

“I think the biggest challenge when creating a book like this is to determine the balance between historical and modern,” said Cox. “We’re talking about a school that was so critical to the professionalization of veterinary medicine, so there are many historical achievements. But we also have some great modern successes, so a significant issue is finding ways to integrate both into the book.”

The new book contains many more photos than a historical volume published for the college's centennial. Some of Cox’s favourite pictures depict the Canadian Army Veterinary Corps serving Canadian and British troops during the First World War. A total of 309 OVC students, faculty and graduates served in the war, with some dying in battle.

“What surprised me the most was the number of firsts OVC has accomplished,” she said. “I know that OVC conducts a lot of research now through various labs, and that we’re at the front of treatment solutions in many instances. But we have historical proof of the many ways that OVC was a leader in research and treatment going back to the late nineteenth century.”

Conlon has worked at OVC for 30 years and was a student here earlier. The project gave him a chance to learn something new.

“One surprise for me was that the first international graduates at OVC were in the class of 1869 -- two men, one from Illinois and one from Michigan -- and that in our first 50 years we had welcomed students from many parts of the world,” he said. “Readers can expect to see events and people that may be familiar to them but also many that they will discover for the first time.”

For Conlon, it was educational to see what the college was, knowing what it has become.

“The stories were chosen to try to demonstrate unique aspects of OVC’s history and how that history is interwoven with the history of Ontario and Canada over 150 years,” he said. “I’m proud that we were able to recognize so many people’s contribution to the success of the college and all of veterinary medicine. Some of these people are well-known, but many are not; however, each one has contributed in various ways to create our history. Without every one of them, who knows what OVC would look like today?”

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