It’s hard to imagine what the Colorado State University College of Veterinary Medicine and Biomedical Sciences and the National Taiwan University School of Veterinary Medicine may have in common, beyond veterinary medicine. But it turns out that one man was integral to the establishment and eventual success of both schools, even though they occupy different worlds geographically and culturally.
When Dr. I.E. Newsom retired as Dean of the Division of Veterinary Medicine at Colorado A&M (now Colorado State University) in 1948, it was to serve briefly as interim president of Colorado A&M after the death of President Roy Green. This final post capped 40 years of service to what began as a small veterinary curriculum that Dr. Newsom nurtured in its infancy in the early 20th century, and that eventually became a vibrant and respected veterinary school. When he finally retired in 1949, his greatest accomplishment, the new George H. Glover Hospital, was nearing completion.
But retirement did not suit Dr. Newsom, and he was soon at work on his book, completed in 1952, titled Newsom’s Sheep Diseases. Perhaps even more enjoyable for Dr. Newsom, he was able to contribute his wisdom and experience to rebuilding efforts abroad following the devastation of World War II. When Dr. Newsom retired, the world was four years past the destruction and hard into rebuilding. The Marshall Plan, or European Recovery Program, was underway to help rebuild European economies. In Asia, a similar program gave grants and credits to countries devastated along the war’s Eastern Front, including China and Taiwan.
The United States government sought out Dr. Newsom’s expertise in helping to rebuild or establish new animal health agencies and programs in veterinary medicine. In 1950, the Economic Cooperation Administration sent him to the Marshall Plan Countries to study animal disease problems and livestock production. The U.S. Mutual Security Administration asked him to evaluate the food situation in Formosa (now Taiwan), an island inundated with more than two million refugees. In the four years after retirement, he also helped to re-establish the School of Veterinary Medicine at the National Taiwan University.
Much of this history was forgotten until recently when, on a visit to National Taiwan University, College representatives were greeted enthusiastically and taken to a special room filled with memorabilia and honors all in memory of Dr. I.E. Newsom. National Taiwan University remembered Dr. Newsom’s critical contributions to their veterinary medical program, even if those at his alma mater had never even known there was an historical connection between the two schools.
“We have been working to develop new partnerships with our colleagues in Asia and Max Matsuura, who provides us with critical counseling on Asian affairs, conducted a study on veterinary schools we might reach out to. He determined that National Taiwan University would be a good fit,” said Dr. Lance Perryman, Dean of the College of Veterinary Medicine and Biomedical Sciences. “It was serendipitous that one of our own had been there long before we arrived, and what Dr. Newsom accomplished left a resounding legacy that beats in the heart of the NTU School of Veterinary Medicine today.”
With Dr. Newsom’s guidance, National Taiwan University re-established and is still growing today a regional center of excellence in veterinary medicine. The baccalaureate program, initially developed in 1942, continues to expand. A master’s program was established in 1968, and a PhD program in 1977. The Graduate Institute of Veterinary Clinical Sciences was established in 2007 and the Graduate Institute of Molecular and Comparative Pathobiology in 2011. In 2008, the Department of Veterinary Science at National Taiwan University was promoted to the title of School of Veterinary Medicine.
Now that ties have been reestablished, CSU and NTU representatives hope to develop a partnership that might involve student and faculty exchanges, shared research projects, and outreach in the development of new programs to positively impact both animal and human health. Key participants at the School of Veterinary Medicine include Dr. Chin-Cheng Chou, Dean and Chairman/Professor; and Dr. Andrew Chang Young Fei, Professor and Ambassador for the Global Alliance for Rabies Control.
“We are looking forward to a bright future with the School of Veterinary Medicine at National Taiwan University,” said Dr. Perryman. “We know there is great potential for mutual benefit that will enhance the programs of both schools. It’s been 60 years, but our shared history provides a foundation upon which we can build.”