The James L. Voss Veterinary Teaching Hospital was named in 2001 as a tribute to the College’s venerable leader of many years, Dr. James L. Voss. But, through a series of renovations, economic downturns, and budget cuts, the architectural circle on the front of the hospital where the appropriate signage should have been placed, remained a blank canvas. On Friday, Dec. 7, that all changed with a special ceremony and sign unveiling. The front of the hospital now sports the name of its greatest champion.
“Jim fought against all odds to get this hospital built, and it’s because of him it is the great institution it is today,” said Dr. Gordon Niswender, University Distinguished Professor Emeritus and a long-time colleague of Dr. Voss. “He twisted arms, traveled all over the state, and fought a tough political battle in a tough economic time to make sure this hospital became a reality. We wouldn’t be where we are today without his efforts.”
Dr. Voss began his career at Colorado State in 1958 as an instructor in the Department of Clinical Sciences, after graduating from the University with his Doctor of Veterinary Medicine. During his tenure, he advanced through faculty positions, eventually serving as head of the Department of Clinical Sciences. It was during that time that the need for a new veterinary teaching hospital became acute.
The old hospital was located in the center of the main campus and offered little space for a burgeoning program. Laboratories could hardly support the numbers of students enrolled in the program, much less provide space for new equipment that was crowding the hallways. Electrical and plumbing systems were outdated and inadequate, and concerns over biosecurity were beginning to come to the surface. The University went to the cash-strapped State Legislature and was roundly turned away.
Jim and Kay Voss at the 2001 VTH dedication.
With dogged determination, Dr. Voss and his colleagues at CSU motivated the agricultural and ranching communities, cultivated old friends, and sweet-talked recalcitrant politicians until eventually the state provided the funding necessary to make the hospital a reality. The hospital opened its doors in 1978 and began to build programs of excellence that continue to break ground today. These include programs in animal cancer, cardiac surgery and cardiology, orthopaedics, equine health, feline medicine, complementary medicine, critical care, exotic animal veterinary medicine, and more. Dr. Voss took over as Dean of the College in 1986, serving until 2001.
“I regret that I never had the opportunity to meet Dr. Voss, but his reputation at Colorado State University is legendary,” said Dr. Mark Stetter, Dean of the College of Veterinary Medicine and Biomedical Sciences. “He was a great leader for this College, and set the stage for so much of the good work that followed. His legacy will live on in the James L. Voss Veterinary Teaching Hospital.”