The class of 1967 returned to Stillwater, Okla., in May 2017 to celebrate their 50th reunion. Among those attending was Reynolds Cowles, DVM, from Charlottesville, Va., and current president of the American Association of Equine Practitioners (AAEP).
“This is our 50th reunion for the class of 1967. It’s great to be back here,” stated Cowles. “AAEP is a great organization, one that is run by super professional staff. It’s a very challenging group, a lot of travel, a lot of meetings and a lot of committee work but it’s a lot of fun.
“AAEP works off a strategic plan. Our primary goal is high quality, world class continuing education. Other real important goals are support for students and student scholarships through the AVMA Foundation, representing equine practice in many hall of government and state legislatures, and promoting the profession.”
Cowles was raised on a dairy farm and had great interaction with the veterinarians servicing their farm.
“I was extremely interested in large animals both cattle and horses. It was a natural evolution for me to consider veterinary medicine.”
He chose Oklahoma State to earn his DVM degree.
“North Carolina, which is where I’m from originally, had a contract with Oklahoma State and Georgia. We were able to attend at in-state tuition fees and I wanted to come out here.
“When I left here, it was in the middle of the Vietnam War. We all thought we’d be in Saigon by Christmas. I took a temporary job with Dr. Dan Flynn in Charlottesville, Va., at Georgetown Veterinary Hospital, where I spent a summer during my veterinary years here. They never drafted me so I stayed there. It was a mixed practice and it evolved into all equine. I was there for 11 years. Then that practice split three ways and I established a solo equine practice in that area.”
Looking back over his career and life, Cowles considers his family to be his greatest accomplishment.
“Our children and grandchildren for sure. After that would be servicing our clients and hopefully doing a good job for them and their horses. And I hope to be remembered for just that.”
And to the class of 2017 who are earning their DVM degrees from Oklahoma State University,
“There is so much opportunity. They are coming out strapped with a lot of debt in many cases. But that, while it is intimidating, should not stop them from working hard. Because if they work hard in this profession, they can make it and it is extremely gratifying to do that.”