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New York State College of Veterinary Medicine
The New York State College of Veterinary Medicine at Cornell University was founded in 1894, and is only one of two institutes of veterinary medicine in the Ivy League in the United States. (The other such entity is part of the University of Pennsylvania.) The NYS College of Veterinary Medicine is part of both Cornell and the State University of New York, and was the first statutory college to be created in New York State.
Veterinary medicine in some form existed at Cornell before the college's creation. Shortly after Cornell's founding, Cornell co-founder Ezra Cornell requested the creation of a chair of veterinary medicine. Cornell's other co-founder, Andrew Dickson White, who was also Cornell University's first president, was asked by Ezra Cornell to find the best-qualified person to teach veterinary-related courses at the university. Dr. James Law, from the Edinburgh Veterinary College in Scotland, was chosen for this role. Under pressure from Dr. Law, Cornell set unprecedented standards for veterinary degrees: four years' study for a bachelor's degree in the field, and two years' additional study for a doctoral degree in the field. (Later, when New York State finally established the New York State College of Veterinary Medicine at Cornell, a high school diploma would be required to be admitted to it, which was a high requirement for the time.) The first DVM (Doctor of Veterinary Medicine) degree from Cornell was awarded in 1876 to Daniel E. Salmon, a man who went on to identify the Salmonella pathogen and became the founding head of the US Bureau of Animal Industry. He is also noted for inaugurating the fight against contagious diseases.
State legislation creating the New York State College of Veterinary Medicine was signed on March 21, 1894 by former New York Governor Roswell P. Flower, a man who had become convinced of the value of veterinary medicine to the health of people by virtue of prior personal farm experience. The enabling legislation creating the college also provided funds for a veterinary building at Cornell. The building opened in the fall of 1896. A new veterinary complex for Cornell and the college was created in 1957. Today, this complex is the largest veterinary complex in higher education in the United States.
The New York State College of Veterinary Medicine is only one of three veterinary colleges and schools in the US Northeast, and one of 27 such colleges and schools in the United States. The College is noted for the James A. Baker Institute for Animal Health, a world-renowned center for canine and equine research, as well as for important work in animal vaccine development, animal reproductive research, and identifying common factors that affect the health of both animals and humans.
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