The self-described farm kid credits Iowa State University and the College of Veterinary Medicine with his success.
“I owe what I am to this university,” said Dr. William Hoefle. What Hoefle is, is an accomplished orthopedic surgeon who has become a fixture at his alma mater.
“Iowa State means everything to me,” he said. “Pretty much since 1960, Iowa State has been my university or my employer, and I am proud to be an alumnus.
“College is the time of your life when you make changes as a person. Iowa State afforded that opportunity for me.”
Hoefle has taken that opportunity and run with it. After working in a small animal clinic in South Florida, he and his family moved back to Ames in the fall of 1970 when he joined the College of Veterinary Medicine faculty.
He has been in Ames and at Iowa State ever since. Hoefle primarily works with 4th year students and residents in the Hixson-Lied Small Animal Hospital with about half of his time spent on duty in the hospital.
This past summer, he started working with his 48th, fourth year class. Some changes in the student body are obvious. There were no female students in his 1966 graduating class. Today over 80% of the class are women.
“I find students refreshing and stimulating,” Hoefle said. “They keep me attuned to what is happening with their generation.”
But Hoefle doesn’t spend all of his time in the college. One day back in the ‘80s, he received a phone call from a former student with a question about a difficult surgery. The conversation soon led to an invitation for Hoefle to travel to Las Vegas to do the surgery.
“I remember flying out and back the same day and didn’t think much about it,” he recalled. “But soon the former student called again. Then I starting getting more and more calls and my presence in Las Vegas gradually grew.”
Today Hoefle spends one week a month in Las Vegas as a surgeon and part-owner of a specialty hospital that has grown from two surgeons and a part-time internal medicine specialist to a clinic with close to 150 employees.
Despite the obvious success he enjoys in Las Vegas, Hoefle still comes home to Ames, Iowa State and the College of Veterinary Medicine. His dedication and support of the college, Cyclone Athletics and the university in general have been recognized numerous times over the years.
He and his wife Judith were named Cy’s Favorite Alums in 2007. Two years later the Iowa State University Alumni Association recognized him with their National Service Award and then again in 2012 with their Alumni Medal.
And just this past spring, the ISU Foundation bestowed its Faculty and Staff Award given to Iowa State employees who have “provided service and creative leadership to the foundation and university through the advancement of philanthropy.”
“It is an honor to be recognized among a group of individuals who have done so much for Iowa State,” said Hoefle. “Anything I have accomplished at Iowa State as a faculty or as an alum has been a team effort with Judy.”
The honors and awards are nice, but Hoefle prefers doing what he does, day in and day out. Working with animals. Teaching tomorrow’s veterinarians.
“I enjoy what I do,” he said. “I believe what I do on the private business side of things has actually contributed to my longevity here at Iowa State. I am still interested in what I do, I haven’t burned out with either job.
“I imagine there will come a day when I wake up and decide I don’t want to do this anymore. So far that day hasn’t happened.”