New Passion

Dr. William Horne (DVM ’81) has had a varied veterinary medicine career.

From private practice to academia, Horne has explored a number of options. And now, “in the last phase of my veterinary career,” Horne is taking up a new challenge.

But back to the beginning for now. A New Hampshire native, Horne came to Iowa State as an undergraduate and stayed to pursue his DVM.

“I loved Iowa and Iowa State,” he recalled, “and I really wanted to go to vet school there. My class was the second class to enter the beautiful, new facility.”

After graduating in 1981, he returned to the East Coast where he was in private practice in Maryland before completing a residency at Cornell University in anesthesiology.

While at Cornell, Horne also earned a PhD in pharmacology and “fel in love with academia.”

“That was that,” he said. “Once I got an academic position I knew I had found the career I ws looking for.”

From working in clinics to conducting molecular pharmacology research funded by the National Institute of Health, Horne stayed in academia, eventually moving back to Cornell to become their hospital director in 2007. At the time, the hospital was facing fiscal challenges and Horne had a reputation of being a “turn-around person.”

By the time he departed Cornell to chair the Department of Small Animal Clinic Sciences in Michigan State University’s College of Veterinary Medicine, Horne left Cornell’s hospital with a $1 million surplus.

After a number of years at Michigan State, Horne decided to go in yet another direction – this time taking a three-year leave to go back to school. And not just any school or course of study as he spent three years in Princeton studying at the university and the seminary.

“Princeton is very progressive and they have a strong bioethics program,” Horne said. “It was an incredible environment to study moral philosophy and bioethics.”

Now back at Michigan State, Horne is exploring avenues of bioethics as it relates to veterinary medicine. He is working closely with bioethicists at Michigan State’s medical school.

“They see veterinary patients as similar to those individuals who can’t make their own medical decisions,” he said. “There’s a real need for bioethics in veterinary medicine and I’m fortunate to be at a school that is interested in growing such a program.”

And after many years as an administrator, Horne is back as a practicing anesthesiologist at Michigan State. He has re-educated himself about this specialty service by doing a lot of reading and familiarizing himself with a multitude of new drugs. Yet he admits it’s like riding a bike.

“The basics of anesthesiology haven’t changed that much,” he said. “Anesthesiology was my passion for such a long time and it’s great to be back working with patients.”