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Celebrating Women's History Month

Learn about notable female veterinarians who have held a variety of positions across the world. Thank you to the CVM Alumni Affairs & Development team and the Office of the Dean for compiling information about many of these important figures.

Members of CVM gathered to celebrate International Women's Day in pre-pandemic times:

A group veterinary student of color seated and standing in the Cornell Vet atrium to mark Black History Month
Photo taken before the pandemic by Stephan Wagner/CVM.

Florence Kimball, D.V.M. 1910

Florence Kimball, D.V.M. 1910, became the first American woman to earn doctorate in veterinary medicine. She earned it here at CVM, whose veterinary student body now comprises approximately 88 percent women.

Sheila Allen, D.V.M. ’81

Sheila Allen, D.V.M. ’81, is the former dean of the College of Veterinary Medicine at the University of Georgia. She also served as the Senior Accreditation Advisor for the Association of American Veterinary Colleges.

Lisa Freeman, D.V.M. ’86

In October of 2018, Lisa Freeman, D.V.M. ’86, was named the first female president of Northern Illinois University. She previously held the position of executive vice president and provost, in which she provided administrative oversight and programmatic direction to academic affairs, human resources services and student affairs.

 Florence Kimball, Sheila Allen and Lisa Freeman
From left: Florence Kimball, D.V.M. 1910; Sheila Allen, D.V.M. '81; Lisa Freeman, D.V.M. '86. Photo of Allen provided; photo of Freeman by Northern Illinois University.

Patricia O’Connor Halloran, D.V.M. ’39

CVM granted Patricia O’Connor Halloran, D.V.M. ’39, her doctorate in veterinary medicine, and that same year she graduated, she became the first female zoo veterinarian in the United States, working at the Staten Island Zoo.

Dorothy Holmes, D.V.M. ’58, Ph.D. ’73

One of the first women to earn a combined D.V.M./Ph.D. from Cornell is Dorothy Holmes, D.V.M. ’58, Ph.D. ’73. Holmes was a keen infectious disease specialist in the Department of Microbiology and Immunology. She conducted early studies on intranasal, temperature-sensitive and live-modified vaccines, a concept still being refined for use in humans and animals today. Read our profile on Holmes’ legacy and how her granddaughter is carrying the family torch.

Lila Miller, D.V.M. ’77

Lila Miller, D.V.M. ’77, is a world-renowned expert in shelter medicine and animal cruelty prevention. She is the co-founder of the Association of Shelter Veterinarians, and with Dr. Jan Scarlett led the way in shelter medicine curricula.

 Patricia Halloran, Dorothy Holmes and Lila Miller
From left: Patricia O'Connor Halloran, D.V.M. '39; Dorothy Holmes, D.V.M. '58, Ph.D. '73; and Lila Miller, D.V.M .'77. Photo of Halloran by Animal Pet Doctor; photo of Miller by the ASCPA.