CSU veterinary pioneer Dr. James L. Voss leaves big legacy

Dr. James L. Voss poured his energy and innovative spirit into making Colorado State University's veterinary program one of the premier institutions in the world. His passing at the age of 79 has left many of those whose lives he touched to reflect on the lasting impact he had on the people and programs at CSU.

According to the university, where the world-renowned veterinary teaching hospital bears his name, Voss steered everyone around him on a steady course toward successfully facing the future challenges and opportunities of veterinary medicine.

Long-lasting dedication to CSU and his profession

Voss began his career at CSU in 1958 after having earned his master's and doctorate degrees there, the university said. He progressed from equine ambulatory clinician, to standout equine reproduction veterinarian, to university administrator. Voss spent 15 years serving as the dean of the CSU College of Veterinary Medicine and Biomedical Sciences before retiring in 2001.

Dr. Timothy Hackett, interim director of the James L. Voss Veterinary Teaching Hospital, said Voss always had an eye on the future of veterinary medicine. This forward-looking perspective has helped CSU to stay at the forefront of veterinary medicine and research, Hackett said.

"He really positioned us to move into the 21st century with the very best care and the very best teaching. That's his legacy," Hackett said. He also added, "It was certainly his leadership that positioned us to be one of the top veterinary schools in the country."

Voss placed a premium on making sure CSU was well-positioned in burgeoning areas of veterinary medicine, including biotechnology, cancer biology, environmental health sciences, and neurobiology, the university said. The university's cutting-edge work with animals in areas such as oncology, orthopedics, neurology, cardiology and internal medicine also continues to spur advancements in human medicine. 

CSU President Tony Frank summed up what many around the university are feeling as they deal with the news of losing one of its larger-than-life community members.

"CSU's world is a little dimmer today for the passing of Dr. Jim Voss," said CSU President Tony Frank. "It is no exaggeration to state that CSU's veterinary medical program is a world leader in no small part because of Jim Voss. CSU lost a great leader and a great alum, and I lost a great friend."