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Winter 1999 Vol.23 No.1
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Alumni, Public Invited to Celebrate
50 Years of "Animals Among Us"

The University of Illinois College of Veterinary Medicine invites you Animals Among Us(picture)

9am - 4pm Veterinary Medicine Open House
2 pm Symposium and Reception with Roger Caras, president emeritus of ASPCA, and Dr. Joseph Bielitzki, chief veterinarian at NASA
6 pm Celebration Banquet and Dance and a benefit auction to support student scholarships

Visit our Web site at for details of the day’s events and an up-to-the-minute list of the auction items!

Come one, come all to cap off the 50th Anniversary celebration of the College of Veterinary Medicine! Events to please practitioners and preschoolers, alumni, animal lovers, and aspiring veterinarians will fill the day on April 10.

The day begins with the annual Veterinary Medicine Open House. Student leaders invite alumni and their families for a preview at 8 a.m., an hour before the public opening. The hallways of the clinics and basic sciences building will be lined with artwork from Champaign-Urbana schoolchildren illustrating the theme for the day, Animals Among Us.

At 2 p.m., two prominent animal experts will share their perspectives on Animals Among Us, the interactions between human beings and other members of the animal kingdom. Mr. Roger Caras, president emeritus of the American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals, and Dr. Joseph Bielitzki, an Illinois graduate and chief veterinarian for NASA, will speak briefly at Foellinger Auditorium on the main campus. There will be plenty of opportunity for audience participation. Students and those interested in a veterinary career are especially urged to attend.

In the evening, a banquet at the Illini Union caps off the day. Entertainment will feature an auction to support student scholarships. After the auction, move to the ballroom for dancing, or remain for conversation with your classmates and colleagues. Look for information on purchasing tickets for the banquet in the mail in March or call 217/333-2760 for details.

Hotel accommodations: Hampton Inn, 1200 W. University Ave., Urbana, 217/337-1100; single, $60; double, $65. Holiday Inn, 1001 Killarney Street, Urbana, 217/328-7900; $72.50; ask for room in block "50th Anniversary Gala." Jumers, 209 S. Broadway, Urbana, 217/384-8800; single, $54; double, $63; ask for block #133011. Radisson Suite Hotel, 101 Trade Centre Dr., Champaign, 217/398-3400; single, $62; double, $72.

Auction Items Still Sought

Autographed footballs, CDs, books, and artwork; items from Oprah Winfrey; vacation packages; and much much more have been donated for the April 10 auction, which is being coordinated by the Auxiliary to the Illinois State Veterinary Medical Association.

It’s not too late to submit items! Please contact Paulette Rubin, auction chair, 847/251-3134 or Kimberly Meenen, assistant director for development, 217/333-2762, to make donations or find out about submitting bids.

Plan to hear these speakers as part of the April 10 gala 50th celebration. The symposium will be held at 2 p.m. in Foellinger Hall on the main University of Illinois campus. There will be time for audience questions and a chance to meet the featured speakers, Dr. Joseph Bielitzki and Roger Caras, at the reception that follows the talks.

Roger Caras(picture) ALIGN= The remarkable career of Roger Caras began in 1938 with the humble job of cleaning the stables of abused horses seized by an anti-cruelty group in Massachusetts. He was 10 years old and earned 10 cents an hour.

In intervening years he has served in the Army during World War II and the Korean War, spent 15 years in the motion picture industry, written more than 60 books (published in more than a dozen countries) about animals and their natural habitats, and logged millions of miles of air travel as a radio and TV broadcaster covering animals and the environment for such shows as ABC World News Tonight and 20/20.

In 1991 he became president of the American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals, an organization with 400,000 members that seeks to eliminate cruelty through such efforts as adoption of homeless animals; promoting spaying and neutering; providing education and support to foster responsible animal treatment; supporting humane law enforcement to reduce cruelty and neglect; lobbying for strong legislation to reduce the suffering of animals nationwide; and supporting expert veterinary care. In 1996 the ASPCA took control of the National Animal Poison Control Center, which had been founded and operated at the College of Veterinary Medicine for nearly 30 years.

Dr. Joseph Bielitzki(picture) ALIGN= Dr. Joseph Bielitzki thought he was headed for conventional small animal practice when he enrolled at Illinois in 1972, but along the way to becoming the chief veterinarian for the National Aeronautic and Space Administration his career path led him to being a zoo veterinarian and a laboratory animal veterinarian specializing in primates.

Working for NASA, Dr. Bielitzki has visited secret Russian military installations and traveled across remote frozen tundra to help recover the Bion II capsule that carried two Rhesus macaques in space for 14 days. Last spring he worked with the space shuttle crew that took 192 rodents, 30 swordtails, 4 toadfish, assorted snails and crickets, and a veterinarian into orbit for 17 days.

Not surprisingly given his work history, values are a crucial component of veterinary practice for Dr. Bielitzki. One of his most far-reaching efforts was to develop NASA’s bioethical principles for using animals in research. These principles may soon be adopted widely throughout the federal government.Dr. Bielitzki speaks often with veterinary students and others to help them explore and justify their value system. He promises to bring a lively and seasoned perspective to the discussion.

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