About Dr. Smith

Donald F. Smith
Professor of Surgery and Dean Emeritus
Cornell University
College of Veterinary Medicine
Ithaca, NY 14853



Dr. Donald F. Smith, known colloquially as “The History Guy”, grew up in Canada and attended the Ontario Veterinary College with the intent of practicing bovine medicine. After graduating in 1974, he enrolled in a one-year internship at the University of Pennsylvania’s New Bolton Center, remaining there for a large animal surgical residency.

Donald’s first faculty position was at Cornell where he practiced and taught large animal surgery, then departed for the mid-west in 1982 to join the small group of faculty who established the School of Veterinary Medicine at the University of Wisconsin-Madison.

Returning to Cornell five years later as department chair and later as associate dean, Donald helped establish the new veterinary curriculum that was introduced in 1993. As dean at Cornell (1997-2007), he reorganized the college’s department structure and led the resurgence in research and expansion of clinical programs.

Since rejoining the teaching faculty, Donald has established a vibrant research and educational program in veterinary history and public policy. His collection of first-person interviews with veterinarians who began their careers during the 1930s and 1940s is a national veterinary treasure, and his popular Veterinary Legacy blog attracts followers from around the world.

Don is the author of the 50th anniversary book of the Association of American Veterinary Medical Colleges due to be released in March 2016. He is also coauthoring with Julie Kumble a book on leadership in the veterinary profession.

Donald is a diplomate of the American College of Veterinary Surgeons and a member of the National Academy of Practices. He and his wife, Doris, live in Ithaca, NY. They have three grown children.

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