Alumni Tales

Alumni News

Where are they now?

Ties that bind

When Donald “Don” Opstad, ’60 DVM, passed away unexpectedly of a cerebral hemorrhage in 1982, his death touched classmate Richard “Dick” Olson and Dick’s wife, Delores. In their undergraduate years, Don and Dick were FarmHouse fraternity brothers. Years later, the Olsons’ son was born the morning of Don’s marriage to his wife, Lorraine. “The Opstads were godparents to our son, Davee,” says Dick. “Although the Opstads had moved to southern California, where Don practiced in San Luis Obispo, we kept in contact.”

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A different vision

Gray NeubauerGary Neubauer, ’78 DVM, didn’t seek a career in veterinary medicine. Veterinary medicine found Neubauer as an undergraduate student in an unexpected place—majoring in broadcasting and communications at the University of Minnesota in the early 1970s. “I always had an interest in science,” he says, “and my roommates were both pre-vet and they said, ‘Why don’t you apply since you have a minor in Chemistry?’ And I said, ‘Jeepers, I bet that would be interesting!’ So as I finished my communications degree, I made sure I had all my requirements in line and I applied.”

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Free donuts!

The Alumni Relations office at the College of Veterinary Medicine has rolled out a new drawing for alumni—enter your veterinary clinic or veterinary organization for a chance to win free donut holes for your office!

Recently, Anoka Equine Veterinary Services of Elk River, Minn., won the October drawing and Apache Animal Hospital of Minneapolis won the November drawing.

Nominate here

Noteworthy moments

Zach Loppnow, ’17 DVM, got married on October 6 in Bemidji, Minn.

Greg Closter, ’11 DVM, recently started a position as staff veterinarian at the Best Friends Animal Society in Kanab, Utah, the largest no-kill sanctuary in the United States.

Christopher Deegan, ’18 DVM, started a new position at Suidae Health and Production, which provides complete swine consultation services in many areas, including health, production, training, research, project management, finance, laboratory services, and product procurement.

Rachel Friese, ’18 DVM, started a new position as veterinarian at Clear Lake Veterinary Clinic PC in Clear Lake, S.D.

Recent reunions

class of 1983 group picture
The class of 1983 celebrated their 35th reunion at Sugar Lake Lodge in Cohasset, Minn. in early October. They could not have asked for better facilities, weather, and classmates. Many laughs were shared.
class of 1986 group photo
This fall, the class of 1986 got together in La Crosse, Wis. The recent reunion was organized by Norb Nigon, ’84 BS, ’86 DVM, and reminded attendees of those connections that they established during their years of much study, hard work, and loads of fun with their classmates at the CVM.
class of 1968 photo
class of 1968 group photo
The class of 1968 came back to campus to celebrate their 50th reunion this fall. Classmates came from as far as California, Wyoming, and North Carolina to tour the Veterinary Medical Center, Equine Center, Raptor Center, and Minnesota Veterinary Historical Museum. Many memories were voiced as they reminisced about the past 50 years.

College news

New CVM diversity and inclusion scholarship

New CVM diversity and inclusion scholarship

Dean Trevor Ames, DVM, ’81 MS, DACVIM, and the Administrative Council at the University of Minnesota College of Veterinary Medicine (CVM) have set a challenge around one important new strategic fund: The CVM Diversity and Inclusion Scholarship. If the College can raise $5,000 for the new CVM Diversity and Inclusion Scholarship—which will support both DVM and graduate program students—the Administrative Council will give an additional $2,500 to the fund. 

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Regional veterinary education program advances

Regional veterinary education program advances

cows grazing in field in South DakotaBased on discussions last week by the South Dakota Board of Regents, leaders from the University of Minnesota College of Veterinary Medicine (CVM) and South Dakota State University (SDSU) have the go-ahead to finalize an agreement to address the chronic shortage of veterinarians interested in practicing mixed animal or food animal medicine in rural areas. Approvals by regents for both schools are still needed along with start-up funding for new faculty and initial facilities renovations at SDSU.

The program would enroll approximately 20 veterinary students annually. Students from South Dakota and surrounding states would be given priority. Their first two years of instruction would be at SDSU in Brookings and feature classes taught by both SDSU and CVM faculty. Students would spend their final two years in St. Paul, including their final year of clinical rotations, which are held on campus and at locations throughout the region.

The earliest that veterinary students might enroll at SDSU is the fall of 2021.

College and Davis Family Dairies extend partnership

College and Davis Family Dairies extend partnership

Dairy education center cow carouselThe College of Veterinary Medicine (CVM) and Davis Family Dairies have extended their partnership through 2023 to support the training of veterinary students at the Dairy Education Center, located west of St. Peter, Minn.

Over the past 10 years, the center has provided intensive four-week training sessions to nearly 120 veterinary students intent on focusing their careers on dairy production medicine. Many additional students have been trained at the center for two-week sessions on clinical medicine, reproduction, and lameness. The students have come from 12 veterinary schools around the United States as well as schools in Canada and Germany.

Started in 2009, the public–private partnership between the CVM and Davis Family Dairies merges an academic program and facility with a commercial dairy committed to high-quality milk production, economic success, environmental stewardship, and outstanding animal welfare. The center is located at the New Sweden Dairy and includes student living space, classrooms, and a research laboratory.

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DVM loan repayment program seeking applications

DVM loan repayment program seeking applications

large animal debt repayment programMinnesota’s Rural Veterinarian Loan Repayment Program is again seeking applications. The program provides up to $15,000 annually for five years for University of Minnesota veterinary medicine graduates who serve five years as veterinarians in designated rural areas. Recipients must also be involved at least 50 percent of the time with the care of food animals. 

The Minnesota Legislature is providing funds to decrease the debt load for food animal veterinarians.

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College responds to African swine fever expansion

College responds to African swine fever expansion

The year 2018 will be remembered as the year that African swine fever (ASF) was discovered spreading across China’s swine-producing regions. The deadly disease can survive in the environment for months, and there is no widely available vaccine. China’s position as the largest pork producer and consumer in the world—and a key trading partner—has United States pork producers nervous.

CVM faculty have responded by posting information and advice online as well as by delivering numerous presentations. Visit or for up-to-date information.

An increased demand for admission

An increased demand for admission

The University of Minnesota College of Veterinary Medicine (CVM) saw a total of 950 applications this year—a 9 percent increase in applications compared to a year ago.

Of the 950 people who applied to the CVM in 2018, 190 were resident applicants, which includes residents of North Dakota, South Dakota, and Minnesota. Applications to the CVM’s program from all other states totaled 760.

The top five states from which the CVM received applications include Minnesota (170), California (100), Wisconsin (70), Illinois (50), and New York (50). The College also received applications from 11 international applicants. The average age of CVM applicants for the 2018 cycle was 23, with the youngest applicant being 19 and the oldest being 41. There were 792 female applicants, 154 male applicants, and four applicants who declined to state their gender.

Student news

Mentorship program soars

Mentorship program soars

This fall, a number of University of Minnesota College of Veterinary Medicine (CVM) alumni agreed to share their time and enthusiasm with first and second year veterinary students. However, an overwhelming amount of students signed up for mentors this academic year. Fifty-four mentors have committed to the program, and nine of the committed mentors  have agreed to take on more than one student. Sixty-two students are currently being mentored by alumni—a new record.

The goal of the mentor program is to provide a professional learning experience for students outside the classroom. Mentoring relationships provide opportunities for professional development, networking, and exchanging ideas.

“I signed up for the mentor program as a first year veterinary student because I was hoping to make connections with a local veterinarian,” says second year student Erika Wehmhoff. “When my second year started out really hard and continued to be very difficult, my mentor, Tara Kasmarik, ’15 DVM, and I agreed to participate in the program again. By sharing her experiences as a veterinary student and a veterinarian, and giving me the encouragement I needed, Kasmarik has played a critical role in my wellness as a student and my path to becoming a veterinarian. I am so glad that I was able to be paired with a veterinarian that I have grown to deeply respect and admire.”  

Recent mentoring events have included goat yoga on the St. Paul campus and sign painting at Amy's Silly Signs in White Bear Lake, Minn.

Upcoming mentorship events include the following:
January 14 – Volunteer opportunity at Feed My Starving Children in Eagan, Minn.
January 24 – Sip, draw, and paint night at the CVM Anatomy Museum
January 28 – Gopher women’s basketball home game vs. The Ohio State University
February 2 – Gopher women’s hockey home game vs. University of Minnesota, Duluth
February 16 – Gopher women’s hockey home game vs. Minnesota State University

If you are interested in becoming a mentor for the 2019–20 school year, contact Kris Hayden in Alumni Relations at

Buzz 'n' Brew

Buzz 'n' Brew

The CVM recently hosted the annual Fall Buzz 'n’ Brew at BlackStack Brewing in St. Paul, Minn. Students had the chance to connect and network with local alumni. The next Buzz ‘n’ Brew will focus on dairy veterinary medicine and will take place at the Minnesota Dairy Health Conference at the University of Minnesota College of Continuing and Professional Studies in April.

SAVMA trivia night

SAVMA trivia night

In November, the Student American Veterinary Medical Association student group held their third annual trivia night at Flat Earth Brewing Company in St. Paul, Minn. The event was sponsored by the Alumni and Friends Society Board. For $15/person, attendees participated in rounds of trivia questions supplied by Trivia Mafia and enjoyed a taco bar, snacks, desserts, and a beverage. Each attendee brought a nonperishable food item for Second Harvest Heartland. There were also prizes for the top three teams.

December 2018

Alumni Tales is a periodic e-newsletter designed to keep you informed on the latest news and events at the college.

We want to hear from you!
  • Share your story for a chance to be featured in one of our future issues.
  • Keep classmates, faculty, and friends of the college updated by adding a class note.
Questions or concerns?

If you have any questions or concerns about alumni matters, please contact:

Bill Venne
Director of Development and Alumni Relations

AFS Board

If you’re interested in joining the AFS Board, send your name, email address, and phone number to

Teresa Hershey, ’98 DVM, Board president
Lukas Wallerich, ’15 DVM, president-elect
Gary Goldstein, ’84 DVM
Roy Martin, ’89 DVM
Heather Case, ’98 DVM
Karen Shenoy, ’04 DVM
Sue Lowum, ’07 DVM
Abigail Albright, ’08 DVM
Susan Miller, ’08 DVM
Abby Coodin, ’10 DVM
Marta D. T. Powers, ’11 DVM
Roland Lefebvre, ’16 DVM
Jordan Sanford, class of 2020, student representative
Andrea Buckalew, class of 2020, student representative
Jordan Sanford, class of 2020, student representative 
Paige Gardas-Anderson, class of 2021, student representative
Erika Wehmhoff, class of 2021, student representative

In remembrance

Obituaries are printed in full in each issue of Profiles magazine.

Rudolf “Tass” Dueland, Jr., DVM, ’70 MS, died September 20 at age 85.

Guy S. Hohenhaus, ’88 BS, ’90 DVM, Annapolis, Md., died June 25 at age 57.

Wilbur A. Leibbrand, ’53 DVM, Hastings, Minn., died July 24 at age 94.

Donald W. Maas, ’60 DVM, Long Lake, Minn., died June 30 at age 88.

E. Hunt McCauley, ’66 DVM, ’73 MS, Bozeman, Mont., died June 11 at age 84.

Gordon D. Merry, ’54 DVM, Sun Prairie, Wis., died September 4 at age 92.

Harley W. Moon, ’60 DVM, ’65 PhD, Danville, Pa., died October 7 at age 82.

Kent M. Rosenblum, ’68 DVM, Alameda, Calif., died September 5 at age 74.

Wallace M. Wass, ’51 BS, ’53 DVM, ’61 PhD, Scottsdale, Ariz., died November 8.


Please mark your calendars for these important dates in 2019.

Saturday, January 19

NAVC Alumni Reception

6–8 p.m., David's Club Bar and Grill, Orlando, Fla.

Thursday, February 7

Minnesota Veterinary Medical Association Reception

5–7 p.m., Orchestra Hall, Minneapolis

Monday, February 18

Western Veterinary Conference Alumni Reception

7:30–9:30 p.m., Border Grill at Mandalay Bay, Las Vegas

Thursday, February 21

Arizona Donor and Alumni Reception

5:30–8:00 p.m., Maggiano's Little Italy, Scottsdale, Ariz.

Friday, February 22

Arizona Donor and Alumni Lunch

11:30 a.m.–1:30 p.m. (PST), Firebirds Wood Fired Grill, Tucson, Ariz.

Tuesday, April 23

Spring Scholarship Reception

6–8 p.m., Ben Pomeroy Student/Alumni Learning Center, rooms 215 and 213, St. Paul, Minn.

Friday, August 2

Class of 1979 40-year Reunion

Time and location TBD

Friday, October 4 and Saturday, October 5

Class of 1969 50-year Reunion

Time and location TBD

Do you have questions about your reunion? Are you interested in getting involved? Contact Kris Hayden, alumni relations associate and events coordinator, at or 612-624-7624.


Stay connected

Miss your classmates?

More and more CVM alumni are planning reunions at the college, and we’re here to help get you started. Contact Kris Hayden at

Continuing education

Explore our veterinary continuing education opportunities. 

Get your CVM swag

You can purchase College of Veterinary Medicine alumni apparel through Zazzle.