Andrew Willis of Woodward, Okla., is carrying on a family legacy. He earned his DVM degree in May 2016 and was hooded by his great uncle, Dr. Ron Guthrie. Guthrie was in Stillwater celebrating his 50th year reunion.
“To me, that’s a sense of nostalgia, I guess,” said Willis. “In the sense that 50 years ago, he received a degree that provided a livelihood for him and his family and a knowledge base that allowed him to help many patients over the years. So I hope to do the same thing.”
Guthrie started the legacy in 1966 when he earned his DVM degree from OSU. Guthrie’s two younger brothers, Darryl (’74) and William (’76), his daughter, Kimber (’98) and son-in-law, James Giles (’98) all earned their DVM degrees from OSU. In addition, on Willis’ mother’s side two cousins earned their DVM degrees from OSU, Danielle Husted Palmer (’05) and Charlie Palmer (’07).
Willis decided to become a veterinarian when he was about 14 years old.
“I started working on a ranch over the summer,” recalled Willis. “I was really interested in the animals and in helping animals. Things just progressed from there.”
As his relatives before him, Willis chose Oklahoma State for his DVM degree.
“Well, I was born and raised in Oklahoma so Oklahoma is a special place to me. Additionally, it is cost effective, close to home, and I’ve had many relatives who have gone to school here and it’s provided a very good education for them.”
While at OSU, Willis was drawn to equine veterinary medicine.
“I don’t know if I could pinpoint any one specific event in veterinary college that I enjoyed the most but I think since I am an equine oriented person, my equine rotations and my externships that I did were pretty special to me. I felt like it provided a lot of skills and knowledge that I can utilize later in life.”
And for those who are considering a degree in veterinary medicine, Willis has this advice to offer.
“My biggest piece of advice would be to just be committed wholeheartedly from the beginning. All the information that you’re going to get in undergrad and in vet school, all those pieces will come together in a great puzzle to help your patients. So just try to be committed to learning that information and retaining it.
Following graduation, Willis will begin an equine internship at Weatherford Equine Medical Center in Weatherford, Texas.
For more information on a career in veterinary medicine, visit www.cvhs.okstate.edu.