College Legend

Janet Ramsey
Janet Ramsey Durlam recently visited the College of Veterinary Medicine’s Frank Ramsey Alumni Room. Photo: Courtesy of Janet Ramsey Durlam

There’s a lecture series in his name, an endowed chair, a room and a bronze relief of him at the college. But the most lasting contribution of Dr. Frank K. Ramsey lies in thousands of veterinary students, faculty, alumni and others who called him teacher, mentor and friend; and the many more who will be impacted through his legacy.

When Janet Ramsey Durlam, Dr. Ramsey’s daughter, came by the college to see the upgrades made to the alumni room named after her father, she asked whether her father’s microscope was still there. It is, along with the photos and the bronze sculpture – reminders of one of the college’s icons.

Broadly stated, Dr. Ramsey’s footprint on the college was big, figuratively and literally.

Dr. Ramsey (’46) was the chair of the pathology department from 1957 to 1975, retiring from the college in 1980. He served as chair of the building committee for the construction of the current Vet Med complex.

Dr. Ramsey was the college’s chief ambassador and, as such, an effective fundraiser with his characteristic enthusiasm and persistence. He couldn’t resist a challenge, and the college was always the benefactor. He raised money for a number of projects, including the college’s endowment fund and the Gentle Doctor Society.

In writing about Dr. Ramsey, Dr. George Beran said: “… He was a very kind, considerate and sensitive person, always putting himself into the situation of his students. He was a model of what we should be in our professional life; indeed, in our life in society, in family and our faith.”  

Dr. Ramsey was born in Princeton, Missouri, and graduated first in his class from Iowa State’s College of Veterinary Medicine (1946). He earned his PhD from Iowa State in 1955. Prior to going to veterinary school, he was a high school superintendent in South Dakota. He joined the faculty at ISU after graduation as an assistant professor of veterinary anatomy. He was promoted to associate professor in 1949, and served as chair of the Department of Veterinary Pathology from 1957-1975. He was the first recipient of the Clarence Hartley Covault Distinguished Professorship in 1957. He was a veterinary consultant for the Agriculture Research Service, USDA, in 1961, to explore the establishment of a veterinary school in Kenya.

  • In 1975, the Frank K. Ramsey Lecture Series was established.
  • In 1993, the college alumni room was renamed the Frank K. Ramsey Alumni Room.
  • In 1995, the Frank K. Ramsey Endowed Chair was established.
  • In 1996, a bronze relief was sculpted in his likeness and resides in the alumni room.