Message from the Dean

Year-end Recap from Your College of Veterinary Medicine

a view of new wings added to Veterinary Teaching Hospital

This message will appear in the Dec. 2021/ Jan. 2022 issue of the Chicago Veterinary Medical Association Bulletin.

Happy holidays from everyone at the college! It’s been a challenging year for those of us in the veterinary profession. I hope you have a chance to connect with loved ones over the holiday season and recharge for the coming year.

We enjoyed seeing many of you in Urbana at our annual Fall Conference last October. For those who couldn’t attend, below is a quick update on what’s been going on here.

(There’s also still time to tap into much of the learning from Fall Conference through a virtual platform available for CE in December and January at:

Future DVMs

We hear from you every day that you are having trouble filling openings for new associates. While that’s a problem for all of us, that’s a great situation for our students. Our Class of 2021 reported a mean of 3.1 job offers before graduation.

Interest in a veterinary career is up. Nationally there were 10,273 applicants to U.S. veterinary schools in the current admissions cycle. That’s up from 6,600 five years ago.

The Illinois DVM degree in particular is in high demand. While the national applicant pool increased by 6% between last year and this year, the number of verified applications to Illinois increased by 88% in that same period. We received 2,038 applications this fall, meaning one in five applicants to U.S. veterinary schools applied to Illinois.

So Illinois is viewed as a very desirable place for future veterinary students, and we believe that is largely because of our outstanding and unique curriculum.

We’re working to promote inclusion and celebrate diversity in our student body. I’m happy to report that our current first-year class, the Class of 2025, is the most diverse in the history of the college, with25% underrepresented minorities and 15% male students.

COVID Response

The University of Illinois has led the most robust COVID control program in the world. In August, five members of our college were honored with the Presidential Medallion. This is the the highest recognition bestowed by the University of Illinois. These individuals played pivotal roles in developing, implementing, and refining the saliva-based COVID test. The test allowed our campus and hundreds of other schools and organizations to safely resume in-person gatherings. We could not be more proud of Drs. Rick Fredrickson, Tim Fan, Rebecca Smith, and Leyi Wang, and our 2020 DVM/PhD graduate Dr. Robin Holland. (Dr. Holland, incidentally, is now leading the relocation of the USDA Foreign Animal Disease Diagnostic Laboratory from Plum Island, New York, to Manhattan, Kansas.)

In 2021, our Veterinary Diagnostic Laboratory performed more than 1.6 million saliva-based COVID tests for people at our campus as well as in our community and at other institutions in Illinois. They did this while also growing their veterinary diagnostic caseload. The diagnostic lab also has tested more than 1,500 animal samples for COVID.

Investing in People and Programs

Over the past 5 years your college has invested $36 million in instructional and clinical facilities. Much of that has happened in the past two years. In 2021 alone, the Veterinary Teaching Hospital completed a $12 million expansion and renovation project that included a new 9,000 sq ft small animal surgery wing and greatly expanded areas for anesthesia, emergency and critical care, dentistry, and medication dispensary.

We’ve also grown our faculty numbers. We have the highest number of faculty ever at the college, at around 130. And we’re always on the lookout for more veterinarians who enjoy combining the highest standards of clinical practice with a love for teaching and research. You can find a list of current openings on our website by clicking on “Careers at the College.” Please help us spread the word.

Thank you to all our alumni and friends in the Chicago Veterinary Medicine Association. You support the efforts at our college in so many ways. You hire our graduates, mentor our students, refer your patients and grateful clients, and participate in our alumni and C.E. activities.

Happy New Year!