Twelve members of the class of 1969 returned to Stillwater in May to celebrate their 50th year reunion. Class representative, Dr. Michael Lorenz, talked about his career and his class.
“I’ve served as associate dean of two institutions (University of Georgia and Oklahoma State University). I’ve served as dean of two institutions (Kansas State University and OSU),” said Lorenz. “But I would say my greatest accomplishment is the number of student lives that I think I have impacted through my teaching and administrative duties.
“I hope I’m remembered for being a very good dog doctor. I’m retired now and I miss that part of veterinary medicine, the patient care, although I’m still actively engaged in teaching. I also want to be remembered for being a strong Christian, a good family man, and a man of integrity.
“Our class was a mixture of people from all over the state of Oklahoma. There were a few from inner cities but most of us came from an animal agriculture background. Almost all were men; we had only four women in the class. So most of us came to veterinary school to practice large animal veterinary medicine because that was our backgrounds. However, at the time of graduation, the vast majority went into small animal medicine.
“Trying to keep the class together has been challenging. Those who are here today are what I really consider to be the stalwarts of the class. They are the ones who want to talk about old times and how it was going to veterinary school. I think it’s a great opportunity to come back to the OSU campus. I think graduates should be very proud of this institution and of what we’ve accomplished in the veterinary school. We’re not the biggest or the richest. The one thing this college has always done is graduate really competent practicing veterinarians. If you go across the country, that’s what you’re going to hear from people. I’m just glad people are back. I think it’s a time now in their careers where they need to focus a little bit more on giving back.”
At the reunion, Dr. Lorenz even issued his class a challenge for a fundraising project to support the classroom building and honor Dr. Roger Panciera’s legacy. He was well on his way to meeting his goal of $50,000.
Here’s a brief summary of what classmates have done since 1969.
Jimmie U. Baldwin, DVM, worked with race horses in New York City before returning to Oklahoma to establish six veterinary clinics. Later he worked with endurance horses, both riding and vetting, until he retired in 2018. In March 2019, Dr. Baldwin was inducted into the American Endurance Ride Conference Hall of Fame.
Kenneth L. Byrd, DVM, started a mixed animal practice in Hugo, Oklahoma, that included treating circus animals. After seven years, he went to work for the U.S. Department of Agriculture in meat and poultry inspection. He currently works for the USDA Food Safety and Inspection Service in Arkansas.
John S. Chitwood, DVM, worked as a certified Chevrolet mechanic before obtaining his DVM degree. He eventually established Poteau Valley Veterinary Hospital. In 1975, he left his practice to his younger brother, Dr. Phil Chitwood (OSU CVM ’71), to teach small animal surgery at OSU until his retirement.
Neil J. Corneil, DVM, joined the U.S. Army upon graduation. After three years of service, he worked at Grant Square Animal Hospital in Oklahoma City. In 2014, after 43 years, he sold the practice to Dr. Kyle Loudenslager (OSU Vet Med ’05) and retired.
Charlotte D. Dietz, DVM, MS, worked in West Virginia and then in Virginia before marrying and moving to Texas. While her husband earned a Ph.D. at Texas A&M University, she taught veterinary microbiology and earned a Master’s degree in veterinary microbiology. In 1984, they returned to Virginia and she bought Brandon Animal Hospital where she spent the next 29 years practicing small animal medicine and surgery. She sold the practice in 2013 and retired.
John A. Goedeken, DVM, served two years in the U.S. Air Force and then moved to Cedar Rapids, Iowa, where he built Edgewood Animal Hospital. He owned and operated the small animal practice for the next 37 years. Godeken retired in 2008.
Donald H. Heise, DVM, worked in a mixed animal practice in the Oklahoma panhandle. In 1972, he and Dr. Sybil Heise (OSU Vet Med ’71) moved to Guymon, Oklahoma, and built a new mixed animal practice. They spent the next 37 years serving a five-state area. Both are now retired.
David A. Long, DVM, served in the U.S. Air Force. After serving seven years, he went to work with Dr. Norman Adams (OSU Vet Med ’57) in Oklahoma City and stayed active in the Air Force Reserves. In 1980, he opened Southwestern Pet Clinic in south Oklahoma City and continues to practice part-time. In 1991, he was called to active duty for Desert Storm and served four months, retiring in July 1991 as Lt. Colonel.
Michael D. Lorenz, DVM, DACVIM, completed an internship and residency in small animal internal medicine at Cornell University. He then joined the faculty at the University of Georgia and earned board certification in both small animal internal medicine and neurology. Next he joined the faculty at Kansas State University, serving as dean of veterinary medicine for six years. At OSU, he served as associate dean for academic affairs, interim dean, and finally dean for ten years. He finished his full-time career on faculty at the Veterinary Medical Hospital. Today he continues to teach part-time.
David E. Marx, DVM, served in the U.S. Army for two years. He then worked in a multi-man, small animal practice for almost 30 years in Norman, Oklahoma. He managed his own veterinary clinic for about 10 more years, retiring in 2006 for health reasons. He thoroughly enjoys retirement!
John W. Miller, DVM, moved to his hometown of Warner, Oklahoma, soon after graduation. He established a solo mixed animal practice and has worked there ever since. Still involved in the practice, he has slowed down and no longer makes calls after dark. He has enjoyed being a veterinarian and helping all sorts of animals with sometimes very interesting problems.
Ronald L. Mills, DVM, served in the U.S. Army and then joined Dr. Anton Yanda (’53) in a mixed animal practice. In 1972, he went to work at Parkview Animal Hospital in Oklahoma City and later purchased the practice. In 1980, he transitioned to a mobile practice and by 1988, he joined the USDA Food Safety and Inspection Service in Long Beach, California. Within the USDA, he transferred to Arkansas and then to Oklahoma before retiring in 2007.
Georg Ann Mundis, DVM, is now retired. She spends her time raising LaMancha dairy goats in Inola, Oklahoma, using the milk to make different cheeses, yogurt, etc. She continues to be active in organized veterinary medicine and studies new developments in veterinary medicine.
Thomas E. Phelps, DVM, served in the U.S. Army Veterinary Corps for two years. In 1971, he worked for the Manteca Veterinary Hospital, a mixed animal practice in California. He continued working there as a solo small animal veterinarian until 2009. Today, Dr. Phelps continues to do relief work for seven different small animal practices in the area.
Richard V. Shawley, DVM, MS, DACVAA, served in the U.S. Air Force. He then spent a couple years working small animal medicine in Oregon and then mixed animal medicine in Oklahoma before accepting a one-year instructorship in OSU’s large animal clinic, which turned into a 25 year teaching career. Dr. Shawley first served as an equine clinician and then became a board-certified anesthesiologist working in OSU’s small and large animal clinics. Also, in 1982, he joined the Air Force Reserve, retiring 18 years later as a Colonel with 24 years total service.
James Gary Taylor, DVM, served in the U.S. Army Veterinary Corps for two years, receiving the Army Commendation Medal for Meritorious Service. In 1973, he built Taylor Veterinary Clinic, a mixed animal practice in Ponca City. After 40 years of practice, he retired due to declining health. In 2014, Dr. Taylor passed away. Established in his memory, the James Gary Taylor Memorial Scholarship continues to benefit veterinary seniors today.
Gerald F. Weinand, DVM, served two years in the U.S. Army. He then went to Enid, Oklahoma, and built Wheatland Animal Clinic. Here he practiced with two other OSU veterinarians for 38 years. They sold the practice in 2018; however, Dr. Weinand continues to work there part-time.
MEDIA CONTACT: Derinda Blakeney, APR | OSU Center for Veterinary Health Sciences | 405-744-6740 | firstname.lastname@example.org