Dr. William Hornbuckle leaves a legacy of learning


Book learning builds great foundations for veterinary knowledge, but sometimes the best way to learn something is by starting to do it early. While teaching clinical medicine Dr. Hornbuckle realized he wanted his instruction to be in a style with which students would assume more responsibility. Towards this educational objective he developed a program in which students have direct responsibility for cases. They do this in the CPS unit where faculty and staff understand and treat the students on service as the attending clinicians.

The philosophy behind the developed education methodology drives the experiential learning that occurs in today’s CPS. There, students for the first time see appointments from beginning to end, taking patients’ histories, communication with clients, examining and discharging patients, and following-up with clients.

“Once they were allowed to actively engage, they became incredibly animated and involved,” said Dr. Hornbuckle. “It completely transformed them. Seeing that transformation has been a key motivational experience in my life and probably the best thing I’ve gotten from my career.”

hThe CPS educational experience is at the core of the College’s Southside Healthy Pet Clinic where the students take on even greater responsibility. This is an off-site clinic that serves Ithaca’s financially underprivileged and provides students with a thriving service learning opportunity. The second year students take on even more responsibility as they peer-mentor first-year students in a CPS style program. Faculty are present, but their role is to watch from a distance, provide consultation as requested, and to jump in when necessary. The program is one of the College’s most popular for students and has recently held four similar clinics in neighborhoods across the state.

Now retiring after many years of service, Dr. Hornbuckle is happy to see the CPS service growing, led by his protégé Dr. Brian Collins ’94.

“It’s difficult to contemplate life after Cornell,” said Dr. Hornbuckle. “But it’s a relief and an honor to know that programs I helped build and grow will thrive under excellent hands.”