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Pets, Professors, and Politicians: The Founding and Early Years of the Atlantic Veterinary College Launched

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The Atlantic Veterinary College (AVC)launched Pets, Professors, and Politicians: The Founding and Early Years of the Atlantic Veterinary College on January 27 in Charlottetown. Written by Marian Bruce, it tells the story of the people and political wrangling behind the building of AVC. This includes people like PEI's former premiers Alex Campbell, "who had sown the seeds [for AVC in the 70s]" and Jim Lee with his "bull-dog like determination to get the job done," says Bruce on page 72.

"Although it may be bold to write the history of AVC when we are barely 20 years old, we're growing fast and it's important we capture first-hand all that went into building the College," says Dr. Tim Ogilvie, AVC Dean . "It was an energizing and exciting time. It still is for AVC."

Capturing much of the early years the book describes how inaugural Dean Reg Thomson worked with a tight AVC team from a makeshift basement office at UPEI. Today, at about four football fields in size, supported by the expertise of more than 100 faculty from around the world, AVC has graduated more than 800 students from the Doctor of Veterinary Medicine program.

The story of AVC goes back to the early 1970s, when national staffing forecasts called for more veterinarians, and more capacity to train them. But how to address that needand#151;and, more importantly, whereand#151;turned into nearly two decades of controversy and negotiations among politicians, government officials, and academics.

UPEI History Professor Ed MacDonald, editor of the book, wrote the Foreword in which he says: "Institutional history is often as instructive as this and occasionally as judicious, but it is seldom so colourful". With a cast of colourful characters featuring the Hon. Eugene Whelan, federal minister of Agriculture, and several Atlantic premiers, Bruce's narrative is packed with anecdotes about people and animals. It tells AVC's story from the beginning to present day.

Marian Bruce was born on a farm in PEI, and has worked as a writer and editor on magazines and newspapers across Canada. She has written, edited, and/or collaborated on a number of books including Making it Home: Memoirs of J. Angus MacLean (Ragweed Press 1999) and is writing a history of Prince of Wales College.

Adding visually to Pets, Professors, and Politicians is Lindee Climo's full-colour painting on the cover. Climo is recognized for her work as an Atlantic realism artist. As well, the book features a number of animal illustrations excerpted from a poster designed specifically for AVC by Jay Ryan, Chicago-based poster artist with an uncommon light-hearted style. Liberally stocked with black and white photographs as well as two signature sections of colour photographs, the 232-page hardcover book sells for $29.95 CDN (or $24.95 US), and is available in most bookstores across Atlantic Canada. Online and print quality photographs available upon request.


Lauranne MacNeill
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