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Dr. Deorsey McGruder (left) and Dr. Rodye Butler (right)

College of Veterinary Medicine celebrates Black History Month

Wednesday, February 3, 2021

To commemorate Black History Month, the Oklahoma State University College of Veterinary Medicine remembers the late Drs. Rodye Butler and Deorsey McGruder and their many contributions to their communities and the veterinary medical profession.

Dr. Rodye Butler – Born fifth of 13 children, Butler earned a B.S. degree in Agriculture from West Virginia State University. After serving in the U.S. Army and retiring from the Army Reserves as a Major, Butler earned his DVM degree from OSU in 1960. He was the first African American to do so. He practiced veterinary medicine for a few years before going into private practice at the Plainfield Animal Hospital in Plainfield, Indiana, where he continued until 2015.

Butler served as president of the Alpha Beta Chapter of Phi Beta Sigma Fraternity, the Plainfield Rotary Club and the Central Indiana Veterinary Medical Association. He was a Charter Member of the Board of Directors for the Plainfield Chamber of Commerce, a member of the Indiana Veterinary Medical Association, a 30-year member of the American Veterinary Medical Association, and a life member of the NAACP and the Plainfield Library. In 1985, the Governor appointed Butler to serve a four-year term as a member of the Indiana State Board of Animal Health. He also received a two-year appointment to the Indiana Humane Society Board of Directors. In addition, Butler was one of four members of the 1995 Family of the Year awarded by the Page Jackson High School Alumni Association in Charles Town, West Virginia and in December 1996, he became a member of the Sigma Pi Phi Fraternity. Butler passed away at the age of 87 in November 2016.

Dr. Deorsey McGruder – Born in Muskogee, Oklahoma, McGruder graduated from Manual Training High School and attended Langston University. He was the first African American Oklahoma resident enrolled in OSU’s College of Veterinary Medicine earning his DVM degree from OSU in 1964. Following graduation, Dr. McGruder taught large animal medicine at Tuskegee Institute in Tuskegee, Alabama. He was the first to use sterile techniques in the field. After passing his licensing boards in Texas, McGruder opened Southern Oaks Animal Clinic in 1966. He was the third African American veterinarian in Texas and the first in Dallas.

McGruder impacted pet health in the city of Dallas and the state of Texas. He was the first African American treasurer of the Dallas County Veterinary Medical Association (DCVMA). His work with the Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (SPCA) prompted members of the DCVMA to routinely provide free first examinations to pets adopted from the SPCA. McGruder had a column in the Dallas Post Tribune that focused on pet health. He also worked with Senator Royce West to establish legislation that, in the interest of public health, required rabies vaccinations to be administered by licensed veterinarians. Appointed by the late Governor Ann Richards for his expertise in veterinary medicine, McGruder served six years as The Honorable Commissioner for greyhound and horse racing in Texas.

McGruder was a life member of the Cotillion Idlewild Club and an active member of New Hope Baptist Church in Dallas. A lifelong learner, he enjoyed technological advances and created a chat group to directly mentor his grandchildren and interacted with friends and family on social media. At the age of 82, McGruder passed away in December 2019.

“We are grateful for all that our alumni do for the profession, their clients and their communities,” said Dr. Carlos Risco, dean of the College of Veterinary Medicine. “The careers of Drs. Butler and McGruder give our veterinary students a wonderful example of what a successful career in veterinary medicine can look like.”

MEDIA CONTACT: Derinda Blakeney, APR | OSU College of Veterinary Medicine | 405-744-6740 | derinda@okstate.edu

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