Colorado State University’s Internationally Renowned College of Veterinary Medicine and Biomedical Sciences Celebrates 100 Years

Colorado State University’s prestigious College of Veterinary Medicine and Biomedical Sciences celebrates its 100 year anniversary in 2007. In recognition of the anniversary, the college will celebrate with a number of events throughout the year and has established an Imagine the Possibilities 100 Year Anniversary scholarship to support students in the college and will highlight changes and accomplishments at various events throughout the year.

The university was founded in 1870, and the college was founded until 1907.

Responsible for research that has improved health for animals and humans, the college is consistently ranked among the top two colleges of its kind in the nation and receives more federal funding to support research than any other college of its kind.

The college is a global powerhouse in research fields that advance medical and health knowledge and products for both animals and humans, with priority research areas in cancer, environmental and radiological sciences, infectious and immunological diseases, neurosciences, reproductive biology and genetic engineering, orthopedics and the bond between humans and animals.

The College of Veterinary Medicine and Biomedical Sciences also is the leading college in the university’s new and unique Supercluster approach to technology transfer. MicroRx, a first-of-its-kind technology transfer structure at a university, will speed the transition of life-saving research on infectious diseases from the academic world into the global marketplace. MicroRx, the first Supercluster at the university, is comprised of alliances of academic researchers, economists and business experts designed to encourage collaboration and bridge the vastly different worlds of business and academia.

In 1907, the Department of Veterinary Sciences was established by the Colorado State Board of Agriculture, the board that governed Colorado State University at that time. The first class of 27 students graduated in 1910. Today, admission into the college is extremely competitive with more than 1,600 annual applications to the professional veterinary medicine degree program alone – admission is limited to 134. More than 85 percent of the students in the college are women, a trend that took many years to establish. The first female student graduated from the college in 1932.

The college has been internationally recognized for its advances in oncology, tuberculosis, infectious diseases, genetic research and issues related to bioterrorism and security.  

Biomedicine, as it relates to disease prevention, is a key strength in the university’s multidisciplinary approach to finding solutions for global health problems and homeland security threats.

Now a worldwide hub for infectious disease research and home to the world’s largest animal cancer research center, the College of Veterinary Medicine and Biomedical Sciences boasts numerous firsts that highlight the history of the college since its establishment.

Included on that list are:

–     the first courses in the world taught in veterinary medical ethics;

–     the nation’s first and only radiology radiation biology department in a veterinary school;

–     home to the first calves and foals produced by artificial insemination in which research pre-determined the sex of calves;

–     first to produce twin foals by splitting a single embryo;

–     established a master’s degree in environmental health in 1977, making it one of only two schools in the nation to offer this degree program at the time;

–     the first university veterinary clinic to successfully perform open-heart surgery on dogs;

–     the first university to use animal tumors as models for human disease and human cancer therapy;

–     created a limb-sparing technique to treat osteosarcoma, a malignant tumor of long bones, now widely adopted and which significantly increases the likelihood that children diagnosed with osteosarcoma will be cured;

–     discovered the chemical that transmits the sensation of taste to the nervous system;

–     identified estrogen receptors as a player in anxiety and depression;

–     the first in the West to apply X-rays to diagnose equine injuries with an X-ray of a horse’s hoof;

–     the Department of Environmental Health and Radiological Sciences was the first in the world to develop a program of radiation therapy of companion animal tumors in a veterinary school, and was home to the first veterinary oncologist in the United States;

–     pioneered the use of geographic information systems for refining the assessment of exposures to environmental agents in epidemiological studies;

–     home to the leading Health and Safety Consultation Program in the United States, helping to create safer and healthier work environments in small businesses in Colorado, also the first in the nation to be invited to New York to manage on-site health and safety operations at the 9/11 recovery site for the World Trade Center;

–     developed a test to evaluate the status of joint cartilage, allowing the identification of early stages of arthritis in animals and humans.

In June 2005, the university was awarded $40 million from the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases to establish a Regional Center of Excellence for Biodefense and Emerging Infectious Disease Research. The Rocky Mountain RCE is part of a network of only 10 centers across the nation devoted to biodefense and emerging infectious disease research and training, and involves other universities and research institutions. In addition, the college has received three grants from the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation for research in mosquito-borne diseases and tuberculosis.

The university is known internationally for its infectious disease research, and the Department of Microbiology, Immunology and Pathology has the largest National Institutes of Health research budget for any department of its kind without a medical school in the nation. The college’s work in developing treatments and diagnostics for diseases such as tuberculosis are evident in global health care issues, including the development of a test to detect antibodies in the blood that are specific for tuberculosis.

The veterinary diagnostic laboratory at Colorado State was selected by the U.S. Department of Agriculture as one of seven labs in the nation to test for bovine spongiform encephalopathy, or mad cow disease.

The college’s Animal Cancer Center is the largest center of its kind in the world and has trained more veterinary surgical, medical and radiation oncologist than any other veterinary institution. The center has been funded by the National Cancer Institute for more than 25 consecutive years.

       The college houses four academic departments: the Department of Biomedical Sciences; Department of Clinical Sciences; Department of Environmental and Radiological Health Sciences; and the Department of Microbiology, Immunology and Pathology.

     During its centennial year, the college will highlight changes and accomplishments at various professional meetings and during the Veterinary Medical Center Open House, March 30-31. The Open House will feature displays with historical information about how veterinary medicine equipment, facilities and knowledge has changed in the last century.

     More information about the college and its centennial celebration is on the Web at

     Donations to the Imagine the Possibilities 100 Year Anniversary scholarship can be made by contacting the college Development Office at 970-491-0663 or via the website.