15.06.2015: The celebrations to mark the 250th anniversary of the University of Veterinary Medicine, Vienna reach their peak at the end of this week. The Vetmeduni Vienna invites its guests from international partner universities and representatives from the veterinary profession, politics and business to a ceremonial act with renowned speakers (19 June), an international symposium on teaching in tertiary institutions and an “animalistic” ball night at the Vienna City Hall (20 June) to celebrate its anniversary.
“To care for animal and human health – this was the task our university was entrusted with by Empress Maria Theresia in 1765 when animal diseases and famine were spreading. So, we at the Vetmeduni Vienna have been assuming responsibility for animals and humans for 250 years, regarding teaching, research and medical care. We want to celebrate this successful development from a teaching school for healing livestock diseases to an internationally accepted specialised university!” said Rector Sonja Hammerschmid.
Keynote Speech by Federal President Fischer
The university is looking forward to welcoming the invited honorary guests from Austria and abroad at the official ceremonial act at the University Campus in Vienna’s district of Floridsdorf on Friday, 19 June 2015. The Rectorate, the Senate, the University Council and the Students’ Union are going to celebrate this special day together with the academic dignitaries of the University of Veterinary Medicine, Vienna and other national and international universities. Federal President Heinz Fischer will honour the Vetmeduni Vienna with his keynote speech. Also Vice-chancellor and Minister of Science Reinhold Mitterlehner will give a speech, as well as Ana Bravo del Moral, President of the European Association of Establishments for Veterinary Education (EAEVE), the organisation controlling high standards and quality in veterinary education throughout Europe.
Symposium on innovative teaching in tertiary institutions
A new international series of symposia, “Teaching Vets#1”. is going to start on Saturday, 20 June 2015. Teachers and other people responsible for teaching will discuss current developments in university education, in particular veterinary education. The Vetmeduni Vienna plays a leading role in European tertiary education with its new curriculum for the diploma programme of veterinary medicine. The curriculum focuses on the students who acquire core veterinary skills. Student-centred learning is also one of the main topics of this year’s symposium. The university will be pleased to welcome the keynote speakers Steven May from the Royal Veterinary College of the University of London and Hedwig Kaiser from the University of Basel.
Jubilee Ball at the Vienna City Hall
The Vetmeduni Vienna invites its guests to an “animalistic” ball night at the Vienna City Hall on 20 June 2015 under the auspices of Federal President Heinz Fischer. A delightful programme is awaiting students, staff and representatives from universities, the veterinary profession, politics and business. Students constitute the committee of young ladies and gentlemen and inaugurate the ball. Then, the motto is “let’s dance”, inspired by the Wienerklassik Orchestra and the Military Big Band. For dance enthusiasts, there is also a disco and a salsa bar where Carla Natascha and her Salsa Band heat up the atmosphere. Beginners are invited to get familiar with the basic steps of Latin dance in crash courses. The drama group Vetmed entertains the guests with sketches from “All creatures great and small”. The “animalistic” midnight interlude is a surprise and followed by the Audience’s Quadrille.
Milestones in 250 years of veterinary medicine in Vienna
Maria Theresia’s declaration on 24 March 1765 to found “a teaching school for livestock diseases” is the starting point of the history of the University of Veterinary Medicine, Vienna. This teaching school was the third school of its kind worldwide and entrusted with the task to finally get zoonotic epidemics under control and keep military horses healthy. Starting from Vienna, vet schools were established throughout the whole Habsburg Empire in order to ensure uniform quality in education and veterinary practise and replace the quack doctors that had worked in the field of animal health so far. It was, however, not before the second half of the 19th century that veterinary medicine was able to control animal diseases: hygiene measures and the progress of bacteriology enabled a quantum leap forward.
The Vienna Vet School was running an animal hospital already in the mid-18th century. On the one hand, animal owners could have their diseased animals treated. On the other hand, the clinics were used as teaching clinics and for veterinary research – back then as well as today. In the beginning mainly horses and livestock were treated. But in the first half of the 19th century also pets, dogs in particular, enriched the range of patients.
Women were not accepted for studies at the vet school before 1919. The first female students started their studies in the academic year of 1921/22. However, it was only in 1939 that the first woman graduated.
The jubilee year comes up with three important events also in autumn: On Friday, 18 September 2015 there will be a ceremonial act at the Vetmeduni Vienna’s teaching and research farm in the Lower Austrian district of Baden, as well as a symposium on livestock medicine. On Saturday, 19 September 2015, the farms and research facilities there will open their (barn) doors to visitors. On Thursday, 15 October 2015, researchers will compete for the audience’s favour in the science slam at the Vetmeduni Vienna Campus.