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James Law | Inducted 1918

Established the first Doctor of Veterinary Medicine program in the United States at Cornell University.

1838-1921 | Artist: Robert Wadsworth Grafton (1876-1936); original portrait by Arvid Nyholm

Impact & Accomplishments

James Law was one of five seminal veterinarians inducted into the Saddle & Sirloin Club in 1918, as an initiative of the American Veterinary Medical Association.

Born in Edinburgh, Scotland, Law attended veterinary school there before pursuing additional training in France. Dr. Law was an established professor in Great Britain when President Andrew D. White approached him to join the faculty of the newly founded Cornell University in 1868. There, he established the first Doctor of Veterinary Medicine program in the United States.

Fellow Saddle & Sirloin inductee Daniel Salmon was the first to earn a DVM under Dr. Law. In addition to elevating the training and licensing requirements for veterinarians in America, Dr. Law was a leader in public health. His work on tuberculosis, foot and mouth disease, and other epizootics had a profound impact on animal and human health.

Law’s Farmer’s Veterinary Advisor offered practical guidance on the treatment of ailments. Serving Cornell for four decades, Dr. Law was also elected president of the American Veterinary Medical Association in 1906.

Did You Know?

Dr. James Law, the first professor of veterinary medicine, was successfully recruited in 1868 by Andrew White in Europe. In addition to securing professors, White purchased physiologically correct papier-mache animals - like the horse shown here - for teaching purposes. Photo courtesy of Cornell University Library Division of Rare and Manuscript Collections.

​Dr. James Law, seated at bottom center, with other Cornell University faculty chairs (Photo courtesy of Cornell University). Over the next 40 years at Cornell University, Dr. Law taught students who would go on to become giants in the fields of veterinary medicine and animal health research, including Dr. Daniel Salmon, discoverer of the Salmonella bacterium. The Scottish expatriate also helped raise standards for veterinary education in the United States and championed the veterinarian’s role as a protector of animal and human health. 

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