More than 600 Virginia-Maryland Regional College of Veterinary Medicine faculty, staff, students, and family members recently gathered for a 25th Anniversary "College Family Day Celebration" on Virginia Tech's campus.

Western-themed and held in Virginia Tech's new Alphin-Stuart Livestock Teaching pavilion, the four-hour party was designed to say "thank-you" and congratulations to the employees who have made the VMRCVM what it is today.

While guests sipped apple cider and enjoyed music provided by Bluegrass/Old time band, the Jug-Busters, others took advantage of several huge inflatable children's games and a mechanical "bull-ride" that could be calibrated for both child and adult style rides.

At one point, hundreds of guests wearing anniversary T-shirts gathered around a 50' x 50' number "25" that was painted on the turf for an historic group photograph of the celebrants.

A number of distinguished guests then took the stage to congratulate the VMRCVM employees for the important achievement.

VMRCVM Dean Gerhardt Schurig recalled the college's difficult founding years, commended former VMRCVM deans Richard B. Talbot and Peter Eyre for their contributions, and congratulated the employees for working so hard to create the regional college of veterinary medicine.

Steve Escobar (VMRCVM '90), a Richmond-based veterinary practitioner who is president of the Virginia Veterinary Medical Association, offered congratulations on behalf of the statewide veterinary medical organization and spoke of the excellent relationship the state's veterinary community maintains with the college of veterinary medicine.

The State of Maryland's Deputy Secretary of Agriculture John Brooks then congratulated the group on behalf of the State of Maryland and the University of Maryland. Brooks, who has played a pivotal role in recent legislation that fortified the regional foundations of the professional college, said the college is something the people of Virginia, Maryland, and the nation should be proud of.

Del. David Nutter, R-Christiansburg, a Virginia General Assembly delegate who represents the portion of the Virginia Tech campus that contains the VMRCVM and parts of Montgomery and Pulaski counties, congratulated the employees for building a college of veterinary medicine that has become such an important part of the Commonwealth and thanked them for their service.

Finally, Virginia Tech President Charles Steger congratulated those gathered for the event. Steger recalled the grassroots movement launched to build support for the college in the 1970's and recognized former Virginia Tech President William E. Lavery for the leadership role he played in the founding of the college. Steger also referenced the historic role the VMRCVM has played in Virginia Tech's formal fund-raising operations. The "Campaign for the Veterinary College," which raised $8 million in private support to build facilities for the college, was the first capital campaign the university had ever run.

At 7:15 p.m., guests were treated to the first ever showing of a video profiling the VMRCVM, which is being produced by Jerry Scheeler, of the Office of Visual Communications in the Department of University Relations. Coincidentally, Scheeler produced the first movie on the VMRCVM in 1979, which was designed to build support for the "Campaign for the Veterinary College."

The "College Family Day Celebration" is one of several major communication programs and special events which are being held throughout the year designed to recognize the regional college of veterinary medicine's first quarter-century of operations and service.

Major corporations such as Hill's Pet Products, Novartis, NutraMax, Intervet, Merial, Fort Dodge, Schering Plough, Virginia Farm Bureau, Royal Canin Veterinary Diets, and others have donated resources to fund the year-long celebration.

The Virginia-Maryland Regional College of Veterinary Medicine (VMRCVM) is a two-state, three-campus professional school operated by the land-grant universities of Virginia Tech in Blacksburg and the University of Maryland at College Park. Its flagship facilities, based at Virginia Tech, include the Veterinary Teaching Hospital, which treats more than 40,000 animals annually. Other campuses include the Marion duPont Scott Equine Medical Center in Leesburg, Va., and the Avrum Gudelsky Veterinary Center at College Park, home of the Center for Government and Corporate Veterinary Medicine. The VMRCVM annually enrolls approximately 500 Doctor of Veterinary Medicine and graduate students, is a leading biomedical and clinical research center, and provides professional continuing education services for veterinarians practicing throughout the two states.

Founded in 1872 as a land-grant college, Virginia Tech has grown to become among the largest universities in the Commonwealth of Virginia. Today, Virginia Tech's eight colleges are dedicated to putting knowledge to work through teaching, research, and outreach activities and to fulfilling its vision to be among the top research universities in the nation. At its 2,600-acre main campus located in Blacksburg and other campus centers in Northern Virginia, Southwest Virginia, Hampton Roads, Richmond, and Roanoke, Virginia Tech enrolls more than 28,000 full- and part-time undergraduate and graduate students from all 50 states and more than 100 countries in 180 academic degree programs.