Western University of Health Sciences




The College of Veterinary Medicine at Western University of Health Sciences


The College of Veterinary Medicine at Western University of Health Sciences was established in 1998 as the first new college of veterinary medicine in the United States in more than 20 years, and stands as a new paradigm in veterinary medical education: innovative instructional programs, cost-effective delivery of education, and cooperation with other educational institutions and the private sector. On March 3, 2010, the American Veterinary Medical Association (AVMA) Council on Education (COE) granted the College full accreditation.

Instructional and clinical opportunities are provided in a wide variety of domestic species, including food animal, equine, and companion animals. The College sustains a vibrant, diverse faculty by encouraging advancement through personal and professional development and research, creating an academic community of competent, caring, ethical professionals, where cooperative learning, public service, and scholarship can flourish.

The mission of the College of Veterinary Medicine is to educate veterinary professionals and advance knowledge to address the contemporary needs of society.

The primary goal of the College of Veterinary Medicine is the creation of an innovative, accredited, four-year professional curriculum leading to the DVM degree. Graduates will be prepared to enter employment as entry-level veterinarians in the private, public or corporate sector, or to proceed into postgraduate training programs. 

The second goal of the College is advancement of collaborative, clinically based veterinary research.

The third goal of the College is the recruitment and retention of a diverse and interactive student body, faculty and staff in a university environment where multiple health professions flourish and interact in instructional and research missions. In WesternU’s culture of different disciplines, in which all are connected through a philosophy of caring and compassion, there is a unity of differences that enriches each profession.

The fourth goal of the College is the provision of cost-effective education by maximizing the use of contemporary educational technology and utilization of shared resources among existing educational programs (private and public) and cooperative agreements with the private-sector animal health care delivery system. 

“The College of Veterinary Medicine is proud to be a member of such a prestigious organization as AAVMC,” said College of Veterinary Medicine Dean Phillip Nelson, DVM, PhD. “We are just as proud to have been one of the first colleges of veterinary medicine to fully embrace the recommendations made by the Pew Charitable Trusts in educational pedagogy. We believe our contributions to veterinary medical education will have both a positive and lasting impact on the profession.”




1998
  • College of Veterinary Medicine is founded, becoming the 28th CVM in the US.
  • Shirley Johnston, DVM, DACT, is named the college’s founding dean, becoming the first female dean of an accredited college in the U.S.
  • Faculty members are hired for the planning phases of the college.
2001
  • March: WesternU CVM receives a letter of Reasonable Assurance from the AVMA-COE, thus giving the go ahead for admission of inaugural class.
2002
  • March: CVM holds groundbreaking ceremony, with special guests Dr. James Brandt, president of the AVMA, and Dr. Jon Peek, president of the CVMA.
  • Spring: CVM receives $500,000 gift from Wen and Mei Lien Cheng.
  • September: Willed deceased Animals for Veterinary Education (WAVE) program accepts first donation.
2003
  • July: CVM moves into the Veterinary Medicine Center on campus.
  • August: Charter class of 85 students begins first term. Dr. Marybeth Leininger, DVM; Director of Professional Affairs for Hill’s Pet Nutrition was the Keynote Speaker at the White Coat Ceremony.
2004
  • April: Inaugural Honors Day ceremony takes place.
  • Spring: Banfield, The Pet Hospital, opens in temporary quarters on campus. The college receives donations from Banfield the Pet Hospital, and anonymous donors to build a new pet hospital.
  • May/June: Veterinary Ambulatory Community Service (VACS) vehicle launches, funded by grants from the Bosack Krueger Foundation, PetSmart Charities, and private donors.
2005
  • August: Charter class begins dairy rotations.
  • September: CVM holds inaugural Open House, with about 200 people in attendance.
2006
  • May: Alpha Epsilon Chapter of Phi Zeta, National Veterinary Honor Society, is established at WesternU CVM.
  • August: Dr. Temple Grandin is the keynote speaker at the White Coat Ceremony for first year students.
  • October: Ground is broken for the new Veterinary Clinical Center, which will house Banfied, The Pet Hospital; student commons; laboratories; classrooms and faculty offices.
2007
  • April: Founding Dean Shirley Johnston moves to a position in the WesternU administration as Vice President of University Advancement.
  • May: Charter class graduates; actor and animal rights activist Betty White is the commencement speaker.
  • June: Phillip Nelson, DVM, PhD, is named the CVM’s second dean.
  • August: CVM hosts inaugural international Bear Care Symposium.
  • November: Charter class takes NAVLE.
2008
  • Spring: CVM receives limited two-year accreditation.
  • May: CVM hosts the inaugural Avian Diseases & Conservation Conference, drawing 85 participants.
  • August: Banfield, The Pet Hospital, opens in the Banfield Veterinary Clinical Center on campus. The 8,000-square-foot facility has 100 kennel spaces and capacity to treat 40-50 outpatients per day.
  • November: CVM hosts inaugural Job Fair on campus.
2009
  • Spring: Entertainer Charro brings an angus mix bull calf to campus for treatment.
  • September: First gift to the CVM from the California Poultry Federation.
2010
  • March: WesternU CVM earns full, three-year accreditation.
  • November: CVM’s David Kersey, PhD, is credited with a key role in giant panda births at Zoo Atlanta. He will be similarly recognized in July 2013.
2011
  • April: WAVE program accepts its 2,000th donation.
  • October: CVM joins the Consortium of Western Regional Colleges of Veterinary Medicine.
2012
  • January: CVM’s Student Research Day debuts.
  • February: CVM hosts inaugural Collaborative Clinical Research Faire.
  • March: CVM hosts inaugural Spring Symposium.
  • May: CVM awards 500th Doctor of Veterinary Medicine at commencement.
  • September: First CVM Alumni Reunion takes place, spotlighting the five-year anniversary of the commencement of the Charter Class of 2007.
  • September: WAVE program marks its 10-year anniversary. More than 2,200 animals have been donated in the past decade.
2013
  • March: WesternU CVM earns Full Accreditation Status for seven years by the AVMA-COE after the December, 2012, full site visit.
  • May: A CVM student is the University’s 10,000th graduate at Western University of Health Sciences.
  • July: CVM unveils its five-year Strategic Plan (2014-2019).
  • August: CVM admits its 10th first-year class.
  • October: VACS II is unveiled. It was funded primarily by a $300,000 grant from PetSmart Charities.
  • October: First USDA Formula Funds are received by the college.
2014
  • April: CVM Open House welcomes its largest crowd to date, more than 2,000 people.
  • May: WesternU CVM graduates its eighth class.
2015
  • January: WesternU to begin autonomous operation of the Veterinary Wellness Clinic on campus.

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