Happy Fall, everyone!
Like many people, I look forward to fall every year. Changing leaves, sweater weather, and a great excuse to enjoy time with friends and take in a football game. I was grateful for the IVMA tailgate this past weekend which allowed me to do just that! I also had the opportunity to attend several other events last week honoring the lives and legacies of two of the greatest Cyclones in history: Frederick Douglass Patterson (DVM ’23, Masters in Vet Path ’27) and Jack Trice. On Oct. 4, our own ISU CVM’s main academic building was aptly renamed Patterson Hall in honor of Dr. Frederick D. Patterson. Dr. Patterson’s impressive list of accomplishments and the positive impact he had on higher education and our profession will live long into the future. On Oct. 7, Iowa State hosted the Jack Trice Legacy Football Game in the stadium that honors his name. The following day, on the 100th anniversary of his death from injuries sustained in a 1923 football game, Trice was honored with a central campus ceremony, including the awarding of a posthumous degree in animal husbandry to his family members.
Attending these inspiring events over the past week got me thinking a lot about legacies - both my own and the people who have left lasting impacts on me. That list of people is far too long for this article but if I had to choose just one, it would be my Grandma Tillie. My grandma was kind, resilient, and had this ability to matter-of-factly put things in perspective like no one else I’ve ever met. Although she didn’t have a lot of opportunities to travel, I always considered her to be an adventurer. After all, she lived alone on her acreage in northern Iowa well into her senior years - an adventure in and of itself (speaking from experience)! When my son and I took our road trip to Montana this past summer, I knew it was an adventure my grandma would have been proud of. The trip initially came out of an invitation from the Montana VMA to speak at their Annual Conference in Missoula on honey bee medicine. When I discovered Happy Fall, Everyone! Missoula was holding their annual half marathon that same weekend, it quickly turned into a mom and son road trip and a chance to race in one of the most beautiful parts of the country. Together, we drove across the states of SD, WY, and MT and explored Spearfish Canyon, Devil’s Tower, Missoula, and Glacier National Park. We went hiking, ziplining, trekked with llamas, and hit the wildlife viewing jackpot. I had the chance to present honey bee CE with retired veteran Sergeant Chuck Lewis, founder of Plan Bee, where he supports other veterans by teaching them the art of beekeeping. And last but not least, Thomas and I finished that half marathon. It was a trip for the ages.
This was my first adventure out west since a camping trip to Yellowstone back in 2016. My grandma and I used to talk on the phone frequently so before leaving on that trip, I called her to discuss the planned itinerary. She reminisced about her own visit to Yellowstone many years before and as we ended the conversation, her parting words to me were “Have fun! Don’t fall off a cliff.” While it sounds simple up front, I think it was her unique way of telling me to get out of my comfort zone, explore the world, and go right up to the edge of the cliff. Just don’t fall off. Little did I know, but that was the last conversation I would ever have with her. Just six days later, I would wake up on my first morning in Yellowstone National Park to the news that she was gone. I dearly miss her, but I know that her legacy lives on through me and the many other lives she touched.
So, when it comes to veterinary medicine, how does each of us leave our own legacy? How do we pay it forward to the next generation and beyond? I would encourage you to give it some thought. While we may not all be able to have the same level of influence that Dr. Patterson and Jack Trice did, we can still make a positive impact. One simple way is to support the IVMA Foundation which helps to fund scholarships for ISU veterinary students and directly benefits the future and legacy of our profession. We’ll be featuring some of these students, now graduate veterinarians, in upcoming columns to highlight the impact that your donation can make. Donating is easy! Just visit www.iowavma.org, click on the blue box “IVMA Foundation”, then “Make a Donation”. Or better yet, consider becoming a Foundation Fellow. Call the IVMA Office or visit the website above to learn more. I hope you’ll consider making this part of your legacy in veterinary medicine.
Until next time…
Dr. Kristen Clark