Advancing the health and well-being of animals and people

Welcome to the College of Veterinary Medicine

Dean Michael Kotlikoff
Austin O. Hooey Dean of Veterinary Medicine

Assistants to the Dean:
Patricia Janhonen :
Eileen Cunningham :

Dean's Suite
Phone: 253-3800
Location: S2005 Schurman Hall

- Strategic Plan Executive Summary

Foundations and Facelifts

Since the College’s founding, Cornell has recognized the need for first-class facilities that support our programs in teaching, research, and patient care. Accommodation of expanding clinical and research demands led to the College’s relocation from central to east campus in the 1950s and the subsequent creation of what was then the new hospital and teaching complex in the 1990s. However, historic Schurman Hall and James Law auditorium, where students learned anatomy, had tutorials, did student surgeries, attended larger lectures, and put on musicals, dance performances, skits, and auctions, had not changed much since their completion in 1957 and were badly in need of rejuvenation.

The College has initiated the first capital project within our teaching complex in more than two decades, including the first comprehensive renovation of Schurman Hall in more than five decades. The project has been prioritized within the SUNY capital plan and comprises an exciting rethinking of our original academic building.

As an anchor at the east end of Tower Road and the main doorway to our university collaborators, this is a major project for the College of Veterinary Medicine and the University and one that promises to begin an extended revitalization of our teaching spaces that will enhance student facilities; decompress overcrowded lecture halls; enhance interactions between students, faculty, and staff; and enable exciting demonstrations and public meetings that are secure from our hospital activities.

A history of change
Cornell’s College of Veterinary Medicine was originally housed in the middle of campus, in what is now Ives Hall. At the time, the building was one of the most innovative and spacious veterinary facilities in the country, serving a total of approximately 300 students and faculty and supporting the entire teaching, research, and service needs of a program mainly dedicated to large animal medicine. Since then, the College has grown and diversified to meet society’s changing needs.

Dean George C. Poppensiek spearheaded the construction of the Veterinary Research Tower, which opened in 1974, and Dean Edward Melby fought courageously for a new teaching hospital that was critical to preserving the College’s standing and meeting the challenges and opportunities of expanding clinical programs. And after many years of planning, the New York State Veterinary Diagnostic Laboratory opened in 2010, uniting multiple diagnostic services that had been in separate facilities.

Currently many of the College’s major teaching facilities, including tutorial rooms and spaces dedicated to teaching anatomy and student surgery, still reside in the original 1957 structure, which desperately needs renovation and is served by mechanical systems that are beyond their lifespan. Locker rooms and bathrooms that were appropriate for the gender distribution of classes in 1957 are currently augmented by temporary facilities. And the move of necropsy, histopathology, and parasitology from Schurman Hall and the “Old DL” to the new Animal Health Diagnostic Center building left more than 30,000 square feet of unoccupied space in the core of our complex, space that remains unused and unusable.

Plans for the future
We have embarked on a design and construction process that will reshape the College’s foundation and shape its future. The vision outlined in our plan includes a two-phased process that will first create new classrooms, an atrium, presentation space, gender-appropriate student lockers, bathrooms, and other facilities, followed by a comprehensive restructuring of Schurman Hall, including student surgery, tutorial spaces, and the currently unoccupied necrospy and old diagnostic lab areas. The renovations will improve security and separation between teaching and patient areas and accommodate a modest increase in the number of students enrolled in the first three years. It will also enable redesign of some of our currently overcrowded lecture halls to more interactive teaching spaces for elective courses and create an appropriate demonstration venue for the many educational and scientific meetings held at the College (including the NYSVMS/ Cornell Annual Conference, the College Open House, and many other outreach events).

What has been termed the “Class Expansion Project,” because it will size the pre-clinical classes to the capacity of our hospital, is a wonderful opportunity to preserve and integrate the old and the new. I encourage alumni and friends to visit Sage Hall, Duffield Hall, Milstein Hall, and the Physical Sciences building as examples of the creative adaptive re-use that we envision.

I am extraordinarily grateful to Cornell’s President, David Skorton, Provost Kent Fuchs, and other members of the University’s leadership team for their support, which was critical in our recent successful efforts to have the first phase of this plan prioritized at the University level. The entire project will take between five and six years, but after slightly more than half a century, the grand but aging Schurman Hall will be transformed, and we will again have a teaching facility that enables our faculty and students to meet the challenges of the future.

Michael I. Kotlikoff, VMD, PhD
Austin O. Hooey
Dean of Veterinary Medicine