Iowa State building named after Frederick Douglass Patterson, Ph.D. '32
This past summer, Iowa State University’s College of Veterinary Medicine named their primary academic building after Frederick Douglass Patterson, Ph.D. '32, who received his veterinary degree from Iowa State one hundred years ago.
Patterson came to Cornell after receiving a fellowship from the Rockefeller Foundation in 1931 to study bacteriology under the mentorship of soon-to-be dean, Dr. William Hagan. After earning his Ph.D. at Cornell, Patterson returned to the Tuskegee Institute, where he was faculty. There, he would be the first person on the faculty with a doctorate, and eventually went on to become the third president of the institute at age 33 in 1935. In this role, he transformed the baccalaureate institution into a respected university with cutting-edge graduate programs, including the school’s Colleges of Veterinary Medicine and Engineering, the college’s commercial dietetics program, and the commercial aviation program that morphed into the famous World War II fighter squadron – the Tuskegee Airmen.
In 1987, Patterson was awarded the Presidential Medal of Freedom from President Ronald Reagan with the inscription: “ ...by his inspiring example of personal excellence and unselfish dedication, he taught the nation that, in this land of freedom, no mind should go to waste.”