Skip to Main Content

The University of Tennessee

The College of Veterinary Medicine

Frequently Used Tools:

About the College » History

History of the UT College of Veterinary Medicine


  • Jul. 1, 2010 -- UTCVM Changes renames the UT W.W. Armistead Veterinary Teaching Hospital to the UT W.W. Armistead Veterinary Medical Center.


  • The College celebrates its 30th anniversary and the Class of 1979 marks its 25-year reunion. More than 1,400 students have completed the DVM at UT during that time and nearly 900,000 animals have been treated.
  • A DVM/MPH degree is established at UT, with the goal of increasing the numbers of public health veterinarians.
  • The College of Veterinary Medicine receives the 2003 Commitment Award on Feb. 23 from the Tennessee Center for Performance Excellence.
  • Aug. 15, 2004 -- The UT W. W. Armistead Veterinary Medical Center, named in honor of the founding Dean of The University of Tennessee College of Veterinary Medicine.
  • Aug. 15, 2004 -- Dedication of the War Dog Memorial.
  • Aug. 15, 2004 -- UTCVM Celebrates it's 30th Anniversary with the White Coat Ceremony, Dedication of the War Dog Memorial, and the renaming of the Veterinary Teaching Hospital to the UT W.W. Armistead Veterinary Teaching Hospital.


  • The College becomes one of six veterinary facilities in the nation with a hyperbaric oxygen therapy chamber for horses.
  • Dr. David Brians coronavirus research aids the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention in identifying the SARS virus as a coronavirus.


  • The College of Veterinary Medicine develops a strategic plan, emphasizing its public health role.
  • A White Coat Ceremony is instituted to acknowledge the beginning of veterinary education for entering classes.
  • Dr. Joe Bartges is selected as the Acree Chair in Small Animal Research.
  • Veterinary Social Work Services is established at UT, a joint venture between the Colleges of Social Work and Veterinary Medicine.


  • April 2001 -- College begins treating dog kidney stones with lithotripsy, the first veterinary college in the nation with access to on-site lithotripsy of this type.


  • December 31, 2000 - Dr. David Slauson retires as head of the Department of Pathobiology; Dr. Hildegard Schuller is named interim head.
  • Aug. 1, 2000 - Dr. Michael Blackwell joins the college as dean, coming to UT from Washington, D. C. where he was chief of staff of the Office of the U. S. Surgeon General and assistant surgeon general in the U. S. Public Health Service.
  • July 31, 2000 - Dr. Michael Shires retires as the third dean since the colleges establishment. Shires served for 10 years in the position.
  • July 1, 2000 - The veterinary component of the Department of Animal Science is merged with the Department of Comparative Medicine, creating a structure of five departments within the college.


  • March 1999 - The first cataract surgery on a bald eagle was performed at the college by Dr. Margaret Cawrse, 3rd year resident in ophthalmology.



  • December 1997 - Dr. Dorcas Schaeffer was named director of the UT Office of Laboratory Animal Care, following the retirement of Dr. Ed Schroeder.
  • November 1997 - The College of Veterinary Medicine's remodeled intensive care unit for cats and dogs opened following several months of renovation. The new space accommodates nearly 25 patients, with improved facilities for advanced critical care.
  • 1997 - 1997 UTCVM's internal web (intranet) site, VetNet, was launched.
  • July, 1997 - Dr. Dennis Geiser is named interim head of the Department of Large Animal Clinical Sciences, replacing Dr. Eleanor Green who accepted a position at the University of Florida. He was named permanent head three years later.


  • July 1, 1996 - A memorial statue to World War II marine war dogs was dedicated in front of the Veterinary Teaching Hospital. The memorial is an exact replica of the official memorial in Guam. It honors not only the war dogs, but symbolizes the special connection people share with dogs. Funding was provided for the memorial by Dr. Maurice Acree
  • July 1, 1996 - UTCVM establishes the Office of Veterinary Medical Education (now, Educational Enhancement) to coordinate the school's professional education program, with Dr. Robert Shull, professor in the department of Pathology, as director.
  • February 1996 - Construction began on a 5,000 square-foot addition to the Veterinary Medical building. The addition was built to house a cobalt unit, office area and multi-purpose room.


  • UTCVM launches its home page on the world wide web. The site included 12 topic areas about the college, its organization, history and mission.
  • October 4, 1995 - The college’s 100,000th patient was honored during an informal ceremony. Buddy, a miniature schnauzer from Kentucky, was presented with a gift certificate for his owner and a box of dog treats.
  • August 1995 - The first UTCVM Rural Area Veterinary Services trip was taken to Rosebud Sioux Indian Reservation in South Dakota. Thirty-five people volunteered for the trip to care for animals in isolated areas.
  • March 26, 1995 - Retired associate dean Dr. Charles Reed dies at the age of 72.


  • November 6, 1994 - A ceremony marking the college’s 20th anniversary is held. Two new awards were initiated during the event--the Outstanding Alumni Awards, presented to Dr. Randy Hammon (1982) and Dr. George Moore (1979); the Distinguished Professor Awards were presented to Dr. Hildegard Schuller and Dr. Barry Rouse.
  • July 1994 - The names of four of the college’s departments change—the Department of Small Animal Clinical Sciences (urban practice), the Department of Large Animal Clinical Sciences (rural practice), the Department of Comparative Medicine (environmental practice) and the Department of Pathology (pathobiology).



  • September 1, 1991 - Dr. Eleanor Green begins her duties as head of the Department of Rural Practice, becoming the college’s first female department head, and the first large animal clinical department head in the United States.


  • December 21, 1990 - Dr. Michael Shires, is named the college’s third dean.
  • July 1, 1990 - Dr. James Brace a professor in the Department of Urban Practice, becomes assistant dean for resident instruction.
  • June 30, 1990 - Dr. William Grau retires as the college’s original associate dean for resident instruction, after being at the college since 1976.
  • February 1990 - Dr. Hyram Kitchen, the college’s second dean, dies.  Dr. Michael Shires, head of the Department of Rural Practice, is named interim dean.
  • February 1990 - Dr. Leon Potgieter is named head of the Department of Environmental Practice, effective Mar. 1. He was formerly a professor in the college’s Department of Pathobiology.
  • January 1990 - Dr. David Slauson is named head of the Department of Pathobiology, effective in April. He was previously a professor at Cornell University’s College of Veterinary Medicine.


  • December 1989 - Dr. Robert Michel retires as head of the Department of Pathobiology.
  • August 1989 - The Center of Excellence is named a “designated” center by the legislature.
  • July 31, 1989 - Dr. Charles Reed retires as the college’s associate dean. He was a founding administrator of the college, having held the associate dean’s position since 1976.
  • June 30, 1989 - Dr. Horace Barron retires from the college faculty. He served as head of the Department of Rural Practice from 1975 until 1985.
  • June 1, 1989 - Dr. Kelly Robbins is named head of the Department of Animal Science.


  • August 1988 - The college changes from a three-year to a four-year curriculum, as the university changes from a quarter to semester format.
  • Spring 1988 - Dr. J. B. Jones, head of the Department of Environmental Practice, resigns. Dr. Ted McDonald is named as interim head. Dr. Art Brown retired as head of the Department of Microbiology; and Dr. Don Richardson, head of the Department of Animal Science, became associate dean of the UT Agricultural Experiment Station.


  • Fall 1986 - Full accreditation is continued by the AVMA following a site visit.


  • July 1, 1985 - The Center of Excellence for Livestock Diseases and Human Health was established by the legislature.


  • April 14, 1984 - A ceremony was held to mark the college’s 10th year. National speakers included Dr. Duane Albrecht, AVMA president and Dr. Leo K. Bustad, dean emeritus of Washington State University’s veterinary school.



  • October 17, 1980 - The building housing the veterinary program was dedicated as the Clyde M. York Veterinary Medicine Building, named after a member of the UT Board of Trustees and leader in Tennessee agriculture. York died in December 1993.
  • March 29, 1980 - The first CVM Open House was held, providing the general public with a behind the scenes look at the college.
  • March 4-6, 1980 - The first college’s Annual Conference for Veterinary Practitioners was held. Smaller continuing education seminars were held as early as 1978.


  • September 22, 1979 - Academic Convocation to dedicate the College of Veterinary Medicine was held. The keynote address was given by Dr. Jack J. Stockton, then president of the Association of American Veterinary Medical Colleges.
  • June 12, 1979 - The first class of 39 students graduated, with the first Hooding Ceremony taking place on June 11.
  • May 17, 1979 - First Honors Convocation was held.
  • May 17, 1979 - The Zeta Chapter of the Society of Phi Zeta was chartered.
  • Spring 1979 - The college is granted full accreditation status by the American Veterinary Medical Association’s Council on Education, a distinction it has maintained during each subsequent accreditation reviews.


  • Fall 1978 - The Student Chapter of the American Veterinary Medical Association (SAVMA) and the Auxiliary to the Student Chapter received their charters.
  • July 1978 - The initial review by the American Animal Hospital Association was conducted, resulting in full accreditation that has been maintained since.
  • September 1978 - The faculty, staff and students moved into the new Veterinary Teaching Hospital. Classes previously were held on Cherokee Farm until the building was completed. The building included classrooms, research facilities, clinical facilities and a library.


  • September 1976 - The first class of 40 students was admitted. The class began a three-year, year-round veterinary curriculum.
  • April 3, 1976 - A groundbreaking ceremony was held marking the beginning of the veterinary building’s construction.


  • July 15, 1974 - Dr. William Armistead became the first dean of the UT College of Veterinary Medicine.
  • March 1974 - Legislation passed the house and senate Mar. 11, 1974 establishing a veterinary college in Tennessee by a unanimous vote in the house and 32-1 in the senate. It was signed by Gov. Winfield Dunn Mar. 19, 1974.


  • March 30, 1968 - A feasibility study recommended the establishment of a veterinary school on the Knoxville campus.


  • June 1967 - UT Board of Trustees authorized a study to determine the feasibility of establishing a veterinary school in Tennessee. The recommendation was approved by the board on June 15, 1967.

Dog Bite Prevention Knox Cattlemen UT Veterinary MRI