CVM Building Named in Honor of Distinguished Alumnus Dr. Frederick Douglass Patterson

One hundred years after his graduation from Iowa State University’s College of Veterinary Medicine, Dr. Frederick Douglass Patterson’s name has been bestowed upon the college’s main academic building.

The Board of Regents, State of Iowa, yesterday approved naming the main academic portion of the College of Veterinary Medicine building to Frederick Douglass Patterson Hall. The naming does not include the Lloyd Veterinary Medical Center, the new Veterinary Diagnostic Laboratory, or other buildings outside the main College of Veterinary Medicine complex.

“Dr. Patterson is one of the College of Veterinary Medicine and Iowa State University’s most influential and celebrated alumni,” said Dr. Dan Grooms, the Dr. Stephen G. Juelsgaard Dean of Veterinary Medicine. “He was a champion for human rights, equality, and opportunity during his lifetime.

“This recognition will honor Dr. Patterson’s legacy and in turn the legacy and impact of the College of Veterinary Medicine has had on society around the world.”

The College of Veterinary Medicine building opened in 1976 and has remained unnamed since then. 

Patterson, who after graduating with his DVM in 1923, began serving as president of Tuskegee Institute at the age of 33 in 1935. Over the next two decades, he transferred the baccalaureate institution into a prestigious university with cutting-edge graduate programs, all of which are flourishing to this day.

Patterson founded the school’s Colleges of Veterinary Medicine and Engineering, established the college’s commercial dietetics program, and created the commercial aviation program that morphed into the famous World War II fighter squadron – the Tuskegee Airmen.

Even in retirement, Patterson continued to have a dramatic impact on higher education in the United States as the founder of the United Negro College Fund, an organization that has raised almost $5 billion for scholarships for African American students since Patterson created it.

For his achievements, Patterson was awarded the Presidential Medal of Freedom from President Ronald Reagan in 1987 with the inscription… “by his inspiring example of personal excellence and unselfish dedication, he taught the nation that, in this land of freedom, no mind should go to waste.”

June 2023