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Spring 1999 Vol.23 No.2
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Like Father, Like Daughter:
DVMs Run in the Family

by Carey Checca

Dr. Valentine with daughter Amy(picture)

Looking at his class yearbook, Dr. Valentine shared some memories of his veterinary school days with daughter Amy, a VM-3

Third-year veterinary student Amy Valentine acquired her interest in veterinary medicine at the knee of her father in his veterinary hospital in Fountain Valley, California. Her earliest memory of the hospital is working as a kennel girl. “I thought about being a marine biologist or maybe doing human medicine,” Amy explains. “I talked it over with my dad. He didn’t try to sway me, because he said he had had the same problem.”

When it came down to making a decision, Robert Valentine chose to go to veterinary school in his hometown at the University of Illinois. Nearly 30 years later, Amy chose the same veterinary school. A lot has changed at the College of Veterinary Medicine in the intervening years.

“And it’s changed for the better, I think,” Dr. Valentine says.

One of the most dramatic changes is the campus.

“The small animal clinic used to be housed in the old beef barn,” Dr. Valentine says.

Today, the entire veterinary campus—large and small animal clinics and the Basic Sciences Building—are located just south of St. Marys Road. The buildings house state-of-the-art equipment, such as a gamma ray camera, an MRI, and computed radiography and tomography equipment. Plans for a biomedical containment center in which to do genomic research are in the works.

“The facilities are just fantastic,” says Dr. Valentine, who periodically visits the campus.

Inside the buildings, everything from the student body to the curriculum to the classrooms has undergone transformations.

When Dr. Valentine was a VM-1 in 1965, there were only five women in his class of 75 students. His daughter is one of 70 women in a class of 100 today.

Veterinary classes started with theory and then progressed to clinical topics. From her first day of class, Amy was exposed to the clinical aspects of veterinary medicine. She will not only study science and medicine, she will learn management and computer skills that will prepare her for being a veterinarian in the next century.

When the AVMA Council on Education took an in-depth look at the College in 1967, the report noted that the College lacked a strong audiovisual center to add a more intellectual and stimulating dimension to the classroom. Those concerns have long since been addressed.

During the accreditation site visit scheduled for the spring, the Council on Education will find even more updates to classrooms. Today, classrooms are equipped with several projection systems, so that histology slides, video footage, and computer-generated images can be seen in the best format. Professors can use the classroom computer or bring their own laptop.

Most importantly, the image of veterinarians has changed.

“We are viewed as professionals, not as technicians. My generation helped change that,” Dr. Valentine explains. “As did the move from treating primarily large animals to small animals. Veterinarians provide clients with quality patient care at appropriate fee levels.”

Amy, like many veterinary students, plans eventually to specialize.

“I’ve gotten my dad to do some avian work,” Amy says. “It’s my specialty. Sometimes he calls me with questions. But in most ways, my dad is my mentor. It’s always great to get back to California and work by his side in his hospital.”

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