College Milestones

Founding UFCVM Dean Charles Cornelius.
Founding UFCVM Dean Charles Cornelius during 1975 groundbreaking ceremony for UF Veterinary Medical Teaching Hospital.


  • 1971: Florida Governor Reubin Askew appoints Dr. C.E. Cornelius as the college’s first dean.
  • 1975: Ground is broken for the Veterinary Medical Teaching Hospital on a 120-acre site west of the UF Health Science Center on Archer Road.
  • 1976: Charter Class of 40 students are admitted to the college.
  • 1977: The college establishes Florida’s first wildlife medicine service.


Dr. Drost and Dr. Cripe with Herman
Dr. Maarten Drost and Dr. Wy Cripe in 1983 with Herman, the first-ever water buffalo calf born through embryo transfer technique.
  • 1980: The college’s charter class graduates and the college is granted full accreditation from the American Veterinary Medical Association.
  • 1981: Dr. Kirk Gelatt named dean of the college.
  • 1982: The nation’s first neonatal foal intensive care unit is opened by specialists in equine medicine at the UF veterinary college.
  • 1983: The world’s first water buffalo produced by embryo transfer is born, thanks to pioneering efforts by Drs. Maarten Drost and Wyland Cripe.
  • 1985: As a result of embryo transfer techniques performed at the VMTH, identical twin lambs are born, each with a natural resistance to a parasite that has long plagued Florida’s sheep industry.
  • 1986: Florida’s first formal cancer program for animals is initiated at the VMTH with Dr. James Thompson as program director.
  • 1987: The college receives a $5 million grant, one of the largest veterinary grants ever awarded, from the U.S. Agency for International Development to expand biotechnology research aimed at developing vaccines and improved diagnostic tests for two major livestock diseases, anaplasmosis and babesiosis.
  • 1989: Dr. Richard Dierks named dean of the college.


Dr. Gary Ellison with first cat to receive kidney transplant at UF.
Dr. Gary Ellison with first client-owned cat to receive kidney transplant at UF.
  • 1990: Two new large animal hospital barns were built to accommodate a growing equine caseload and in first phase of a $36 million facilities expansion in conjunction with AVMA accreditation requirements.
  • 1993: A $750,000 grant from Walt Disney World Company aids UF research into potentially devastating respiratory disease in the Florida gopher tortoise.
  • 1994: The Alec P. and Louise H. Courtelis Equine Teaching Hospital opens its doors, providing comprehensive patient-care facilities for horse-owning public and prominent horse breeding and training industry in nearby Ocala.
  • 1994: A unique agreement is forced with White Oak Plantation to allow residents in the college’s wildlife and zoological medicine service to spend their third year on the plantation apprenticing with White Oak’s fulltime veterinarian.
  • 1995: College establishes its Pet Memorial Program, allowing practitioners the opportunity to make a donation to the college in honor of a client’s deceased pet.
  • 1995: A new $530,000 equine drug study funded by the state’s Division of Pari-mutuel Wagering begins with the aim of updating standards that could be used to benefit the horse racing industry.
  • 1995: Dr. Wayne Riser is honored for his many contributions to UF in the field of veterinary pathology. Riser’s estate gift helped establish the Wayne H. Riser Laboratory for Bone and Joint Pathology.
  • 1996: A $24 million Veterinary Academic Building, which contains research labs , classroom facilities and administrative support space, opens and is cornerstone of college building expansion this decade.
  • 1996: Dr. Michelle Leblanc develops breakthrough treatment for mare infertility using naturally-occurring hormone, oxytocin.
  • 1997: Dr. Joseph DiPietro is named dean of the college.
  • 1997: Dr. Gary Ellison performs UF’s first-ever kidney transplant in a client-owned cat.
  • 1998: College dean Joseph DiPietro leads 20 riders from the college in Horse Farm 100 bike ride to raise money for student scholarships. He raises $3,547 and Team Vet Med is born.
  • 1998: Operation Catnip, a national program founded and led by Dr. Julie Levy, begins at UF, offering free spay/neuter surgery to feral cats in the community.
  • 1999: The first Sophomore Professional Coating Ceremony, symbolizing veterinary students’ transition into clinical rotations, is held, creating a new tradition.
  • 1999: College hires new veterinary acupuncturist, Dr. Huisheng Xie, responding to current trends and demands within the profession.
  • 1999: In first-ever procedure performed on a bird, UF zoological veterinarians implant an artificial joint in a rare Siberian crane.


Marissa with injured bird, Hurricane Charley aftermath.
UF veterinary student Marissa with injured bird during Hurricane Charley relief efforts in 2004.
  • 2000: Gift of $1 million from estate of Philip B. and Georgia B. Hofmann, Thoroughbred racing enthusiasts, is record donation and enables college to meet UF campaign goals. The college’s equine neonatal ICU is renamed in honor of the Hofmanns.
  • 2000: College celebrates 25th Anniversary with series of events and a commemorative calendar.
  • 2000: College’s unique Aquatic Animal Health program is enhanced with a $810,000 state grant shared with the Whitney Laboratory for Marine Bioscience in St. Augustine. Funding allows UF to establish a unique training program in marine mammal health that complements existing programs in aquaculture and fisheries.
  • 2001: The UFCVM Racing Laboratory earns national accreditation, becoming one of only a handful of institution to hold that status.
  • 2002: In a major scientific breakthrough, Dr. Janet Yamamoto develops a feline AIDS vaccine that the federal government approves for commercial use.
  • 2002: UF becomes only the second veterinary institution in the nation to perform a kidney transplant procedure on a client-owned patient when Dr. Chris Adin performs successful operation on a poodle.
  • 2002: Gift of $1 million comes to the college from the estate of cattle owners Bob F. and Evelyn B. Deriso, in honor of Dr. Paul Nicoletti’s contributions to the control of brucellosis.
  • 2002: College holds first-ever Referring Veterinarian Appreciation Day, offering free continuing education to practitioners across the state and starting a new tradition.
  • 2003: Zoological medicine clinicians and pathologists at the college make history with key role in first diagnosis of West Nile virus in alligators.
  • 2004: UF zoological medicine researchers led by Dr. Elliott Jacobson lead collaboration to create database of sea turtle blood to aid rehabilitation groups in better assessing sea turtle health.
  • 2004: UF CVM sends response team to provide assistance in the aftermath of Hurricane Charley. This would lead to more organized disaster response efforts in future years in collaboration with state and federal agencies.
  • 2004: Dr. Cynda Crawford report s that equine influenza virus likely jumped species into dogs and probably caused a respiratory disease outbreak that resulted in eight racing greyhound deaths in Florida. The new pathogen is now known as canine influenza virus.
  • 2004: A new agreement between UF, Merial and local animal shelter, led by Dr. Natalie Isaza, allows UF veterinary students to gain greater experience in spay/neuter surgery.
  • 2004: Dr. Amara Estrada performs UF’s first manual heartworm removal in a cat.
  • 2005: Dr. Dennis Brooks performs 100th corneal transplant on a horse at UF, more than half of all such procedures performed in the United States.
  • 2005: Dr. Janet Yamamoto reports an unexpected link between viruses that cause feline and human AIDS: Cats vaccinated with an experimental strain of the human AIDS virus appear to be at least as well protected against feline AIDS as those immunized with the vaccine currently used by veterinarians.
  • 2006: Dr. Glen Hoffsis is named dean of the college.
  • 2006: First open heart surgery on a dog is performed involving UF physicians and veterinarians to remove a skewer from a dog’s heart.
  • 2008: The college receives a $5.2 million program grant from Maddie’s Fund, the largest made by the fund to any veterinary school in the country, to develop programs that would enhance care to homeless animals in shelters throughout the state and build training programs for UF veterinary students and shelter-oriented professionals. Led by Dr. Julie Levy, the program subsequently created the nation’s first-ever online Shelter Medicine Graduate Certificate course, aimed at educating veterinary students and veterinarians from around the world in the practice of medicine in animal shelters.


  • 2010: New $58 million, 90,000 square-foot UF Small Animal Hospital opens, tripling existing space and providing technology and capabilities including a linear accelerator with cone-beam CT unique to Florida and the nation, and a catheterization laboratory.
  • 2012: New UF Pet Emergency Treatment Services after-hours emergency veterinary clinic opens in Ocala, exceeding revenue and caseload goals in its first year. The program reflects a nationally unique business model and partnership with community practitioners in the Ocala area.
  • 2012: Victoria I. Ford Acupuncture and Rehabilitation Center is dedicated in the UF Small Animal Hospital. Key features include a pool and additional underwater treadmill equipment for hydrotherapy.
  • 2012: Fundraising totals reflect $14.7 million in charitable gifts, a college record.
  • 2013: Dr. James Lloyd is named dean of the college.
  • 2013: UF Professor emeritus Dr. Paul Nicoletti gives $1 million to Opportunity Scholars program to benefit students from low-income backgrounds who aspire to careers in veterinary medicine.
  • 2013: State officials name University of Florida as one of two preeminent research universities, a designation that carries $15 million in annual state preeminence funding. UFCVM joins other colleges in preeminence campaign and begins strategic planning process across all areas of college mission.
  • 2014: A new equine sports performance complex is completed at the UF Large Animal Hospital, becoming the only such facility in Florida to offer complete diagnostic and treatment capabilities through the equine lameness and imaging service.
  • 2015: UF Small Animal Hospital gains accreditation by the American Animal Hospital Association, or AAHA.
  • 2015: A new $4 million clinical skills laboratory at the college opens, providing extra space and technology to help veterinary students develop and hone patient-care techniques and communication skills.
  • 2015: The UF Small Animal Hospital is certified as a Level 1 veterinary emergency and critical care facility by the Veterinary Emergency and Critical Care Society, becoming Florida’s only facility to hold the designation.
  • 2015: The Ocala-based Pet Emergency Treatment Services clinic receives Level 3 certification from the VECCS, becoming one of only three facilities in the state to hold the designation.
  • 2015: The UF Small Animal Hospital gains accreditation in both traditional and specialty areas from the American Animal Hospital Association, becoming one of only six academic veterinary hospitals to hold the designation.
  • 2016: The college celebrated its 40th anniversary, dating from 1976, when the first class of veterinary students was admitted. A year-end celebration gala was held to commemorate the event, which was acknowledged in numerous ways throughout the year.
  • 2019: A new $6 million two-story addition was completed adjacent to the UF Small Animal Hospital, affording needed teaching space to the Primary Care and Dentistry Service, as well as additional offices for administrative personnel.
  • 2019: Dr. Dana Zimmel is named interim dean of the college.


  • 2020: The Joanne W. Gauntt Foundation gifts the college with $3 million to purchase a new linear accelerator to enhance cancer treatment for pets.
  • 2020: UF veterinarians use a novel treatment involving hyperbaric oxygen therapy to save a seahorse, making national news.
  • 2020: A 600-pound alligator named Bob, owned by St. Augustine Alligator Farm was treated at UF’s Veterinary Hospital, making national news.
  • 2020: Dr. Larry Dee and his wife, Lucille Dee, gifted the college with $1 million to endow the Michael Schaer Professorship in Small Animal Emergency and Critical Care Medicine.
  • 2020: UF veterinarians begin successfully using a new placenta-derived treatment for animals with severe bone loss. Patients benefiting from the compound include a giraffe at Jacksonville Zoo and Gardens and two pet dogs.
  • 2021: Two new programs spearheaded by Dr. Adam Stern, the college’s veterinary forensic pathologist, aim to bring justice to victims of animal abuse.
  • 2021: UF veterinarians successfully remove a shoe from the stomach of a Nile crocodile, a story that gained national attention.
  • 2021: Animal Airwaves, a nationally syndicated podcast aimed at the pet-owning public, celebrates 10 years of public radio broadcast success.
  • 2021: Dr. Dana Zimmel is named the college’s 7th permanent dean, becoming the first woman to serve in this role.
  • 2021: The first canine total ankle replacement surgery in Florida was performed on a dog at UF.
  • 2021: The college announces plans to open a new veterinary hospital at Ocala’s World Equestrian Center, to be known as the UF Veterinary Hospital at WEC.
  • 2021: A new $3 million linear accelerator, the Varian Edge, funded by the Joanne W. Gauntt Foundation, is installed inside UF’s Small Animal Hospital, enhancing radiation oncology treatment options for pets with certain types of cancer.
  • 2022: The new UF Veterinary Hospital at World Equestrian Center opens for business, following a grand opening preview and ribbon-cutting event that drew over 1,000 people to the 40,000 square-foot facility. Equine services will focus on sports medicine, diagnostic imaging and rehabilitation. Small animals will receive urgent and primary care, with a goal of expanding specialty services for horses and small animals.