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Saturday, January 29, 2011

NOT FOR US ALONE: The 150th Anniversary of the Veterinary Profession in the United States

By Donald F. Smith, Cornell University
January 29, 2011

This historical blog is in recognition of the 150th anniversary 
of the American Veterinary Medical Association (1863-2013).

The first veterinary college opened in France 250 years ago, but it took another century before the profession was formally established in the United States. 

The year was 1863, and the place was New York City. Forty veterinarians from the northeastern states met on June 9-10 and formed the United States Veterinary Medical Association (USVMA).

The driving force was the French-educated veterinarian, Alexandre Liautard, who was dean of the American Veterinary College in New York City. Perhaps in recognition of the role that animals also play in human health, Liautard (who was also an American-educated physician) chose the motto, Non Nobis Solum—not for us alone—to describe the profession.

The USVMA continued meeting in New York and occasionally in other east coast cities for 25 years until the headquarters moved to the Chicago area. The name was changed to the American Veterinary Medical Association.

The AVMA will recognize the 150th anniversary of the veterinary profession in the United States in two years. At the organization’s headquarters in Schaumburg, IL, plans are being developed for a national celebration in 2013, with educational exhibits and special programs.

This once-in-a-lifetime observance provides a unique opportunity for veterinarians in every aspect of the profession--private practice, education, research, industry, public health and the armed forces--to promote their special roles in advancing animal and human health, with colleagues in the other health professions and the public at large.

In coming months, this blog will profile many facets of the veterinary profession. I welcome suggestions for people who represent the breadth of veterinary medicine.

Dr. Smith invites comments at