Kansas City Veterinary College History

Kansas City Veterinary College 1903The Kansas City Veterinary College (KCVC) was the second largest of the early mostly private institutions in the United States with respect to the number of graduates. The KCVC had 1857 graduates over a span of 26 years, beginning with a class of three students in 1892 and 159 students in the last class of 1918. A history of Kansas City and its people by Whitney (1908) referred to the KCVC as the largest institution of its kind in America and the fourth largest in the world. Bierer (1940) in his history of veterinary medicine and review of veterinary schools of the past states that Dr. Sesco Stewart with Dr. Robert C. Moore reared the greatest private veterinary school in our land.

The KCVC was also the foundation of the Kansas City Animal Health Corridor, the home today for more than 125 companies serving the animal health and nutrition industry, the largest concentration in the world. The history of the Kansas City Animal Health Corridor began about 1867 with the first cattle drive up the Chisholm Trail from Texas, followed by shipping the cattle to Kansas City and the eastern part of the United States by railroad. The Kansas City Stockyards were established in 1871 to provide better prices for livestock owners. The meat packing industry began to appear in Kansas City about the same time. In 1891, the Kansas City Veterinary College (KCVC) was founded, solidifying the foundation for the Kansas City Animal Health Corridor. Some of the faculty and graduates of the KCVC established pharmaceutical and serum companies in the Kansas City Animal Health Corridor.

In the beginning, the students at the KCVC attended one term of six months to be eligible to receive the Doctor of Veterinary Science degree. In 1893, the requirement for graduation was changed from one to two terms of six months. In order to provide more scientific training and to improve the standing of the graduates, a three year graded course of study was inaugurated in 1896. The school was depleted by the draft of World War I and closed its doors in 1918. The students were given the opportunity to transfer to Kansas State Agricultural College (KSAC). A museum of pathological specimens, the academic records and composite photographs of the graduating classes were donated to KSAC. Many of the graduates are listed among the "Who's Who" of the veterinary profession and provided the foundation for the animal health companies in the Kansas City area.

Smithcors (1975) noted in "The Veterinarian in America" that the KCVC was noted for its excellent instruction. Dunlop and Williams (1996) in "Veterinary Medicine, an Illustrated History", note that the KCVC had the reputation for producing the highest quality education of the private schools. By 1905, 40% of the veterinarians working at the prestigious Bureau of Animal Industry (BAI) were alumni of the KCVC. Many leaders emerged from the ranks of the graduates of the KCVC, including Willard L. Boyd (class of 1909) who became the founding dean or director of the College of Veterinary Medicine at the University Minnesota in 1947. There were also fifteen state veterinarians, numerous BAI staff members and three AVMA presidents who graduated from the KCVC.

The KCVC had four different locations in Kansas City, Missouri, beginning in two rented rooms in the Schutte Building at 15th and Grand Avenue in 1891, moving to 310 East 12th Street in 1892, then to 1404-06 Holmes Street in 1896, and to 1336 East Fifteenth Street in 1903.

The Doctor of Veterinary Science degree was conferred upon the graduates of classes 1892 to 1911 and the Doctor of Veterinary Medicine degree was conferred upon the classes 1912 to 1918.