Some long-time employees receive a gold watch from their employers as commemoration for their service. Dr. Terrence Curtin, however, received his own street.
Dr. Curtin and his family attended the dedication of Terry Curtin Drive on North Carolina State University’s West Campus earlier this summer. Dr. Curtin founded the university’s College of Veterinary Medicine in 1978, and is currently the College’s Dean Emeritus.
Dr. Curtin arrived at NC State in 1973 after serving as a department head at the University of Missouri for four years. He said he received the all-clear to establish a veterinary school on campus at a meeting of the North Carolina Veterinary Medical Association.
“People saw me at the meeting with Jim Graham. He was the chief of agriculture. Before the meeting ended, I concluded that they wanted a veterinary school and they wanted me to head it,” Dr. Curtin said.
With that, Dr. Curtin started the Department of Veterinary Science within the School of Agriculture. He said it became a “planning base” for the establishment of the veterinary college in 1978. Once buildings were built and staff was hired, Dr. Curtin graduated the first class of 40 students in 1995.
Dr. Curtin grew up on an Emery, South Dakota, farm. He said he became interested in veterinary science from living around 18 mules, 150 heads of cattle, 300 hens and the farm’s myriad other animals.
“We had a lot of critters,” he said.
After serving in World War II, Dr. Curtin attended the University of Chicago and South Dakota State University. He then applied to the University of Minnesota, Colorado State University, and the medical schools at Minnesota and Northwestern University.
After being accepted by all four schools, he chose Minnesota’s veterinary school. While studying there, he also worked as a deputy coroner and conducted 80 to 100 autopsies per month.
After finishing at Minnesota, Dr. Curtin returned to Emery and worked as a veterinarian for five years. He then attended Purdue University for eight years and earned three graduate degrees in physiology before leaving for Missouri.
The College of Veterinary Science has grown from 40 students in its first and second classes to 100 students today. Dr. Curtin said the program ranks third in the nation behind the University of Pennsylvania and Cornell University.
Dr. Curtin said that although he no longer holds a veterinary license, he still attends NCVMA meetings and remains involved with NC State.
“I still have an office there. I go there once or twice a week,” he said.
Dr. Curtin said he is proud of all of his accomplishments.
“I was lucky. I was just a farm boy…I was in the right place at the right time, and I was able to surround myself with people who made me look good…I’m proud of everything, I guess,” he said.