Dean Calvin Johnson

To lead and shape the future of higher education

This spring, I had the privilege of hosting a reception for 14 new faculty who joined the College of Veterinary Medicine over the past year.  They represent an array of disciplines, faculty ranks, and degree-granting institutions.  The process of recruiting faculty to Auburn is usually successful, particularly after an on-campus visit, because the College of Veterinary Medicine is an appealing workplace and the Loveliest Village on the Plains sells itself as a home.  Also during the spring, we filled the CVM Student Class of 2023, which will be 130 students strong.  They will represent at least 19 states, with the majority being from Alabama (41) and Kentucky (38).  The Class of 2023 will begin freshman orientation on August 6, and fall classes will start on August 12, 2019.

The 120 members of the college’s senior class, the Class of 2019, returned from eight-week preceptorships and graduated on the evening of May 6.  Dr. Douglas Meckes (AU CVM ‘75), in the commencement address, advised the students to do the following:  be there for those they love most, be a leader, be a friend, be prepared to fail, be engaged in activities outside of veterinary medicine, and be ever mindful of the little things.  That’s sage advice for new veterinarians entering one of the strongest job markets in recent history.

Auburn has always taken great pride in the value proposition of its veterinary education, i.e., the cost of attendance at Auburn is relatively low, while the value of an Auburn DVM is relatively high, as measured through board exam pass rates, employment rates, starting salaries, and a curriculum that cultivates “readiness to practice.”  The veterinary curriculum, while costly to deliver, provides an unrivaled learning opportunity that bridges the basic sciences and a nationally leading veterinary teaching hospital.  Equally important, veterinarians in the private sector facilitate the transition of students into the workplace through mentorship and added practical education.

This formula has worked well for generations of Auburn graduates.  It is one that will be sustained by our alumni’s continuing engagement, our advocacy for higher education funding, and the University’s recognition of the College of Veterinary Medicine as a core contributor to Auburn University’s land grant mission.

The College’s important position in relation to Auburn University’s national reputation was confirmed by a survey conducted by Auburn MBA students in cooperation with Fox Sports and Auburn Athletics.   Randomly selected national participants without a known connection to Auburn University were asked the following question: “What academic disciplines do you associate with Auburn University?”  A total of 634 responses revealed the following top four disciplines:

  • 41% – Veterinary Medicine
  • 40% – Engineering
  • 38% – Agriculture
  • 35% – Business

Surprising?  No.  Motivating? Yes.  I thank all who advance the College’s reputation through their fine work, and for those who advocate for the Auburn University College of Veterinary Medicine across the nation and around the globe.  It makes a BIG difference when the College of Veterinary Medicine is recognized by the public as a premier program.  Please visit for clues on why this is the case.

War Eagle!

Calvin M. Johnson, Dean

The Dean of the College of Veterinary Medicine

Dr. Calvin M. Johnson has served as Dean of the College of Veterinary Medicine at Auburn University since 2013, where he advances the college’s academic mission in teaching, research, clinical veterinary practice, and public outreach.

He is a graduate of Auburn University (B.S. in Animal and Dairy Science, 1983; D.V.M., 1986) and North Carolina State University (Ph.D. in veterinary pathology, 1992).  He is a Diplomate of the American College of Veterinary Pathologists (ACVP) with a specialty in anatomic pathology.

Dr. Johnson served on the faculty at the University of Florida for 11 years before joining Auburn as professor of pathology (2003) and head of the Department of Pathobiology (2005).

Under Dr. Johnson’s leadership, the Auburn University College of Veterinary Medicine educates 480 veterinary students and 71 graduate students in biomedical sciences, and supports the professional activities of 107 faculty members and 250 staff.

Extramural funding of research in the college totals $7.3 million and focuses on veterinary biomedical sciences, cancer biology, diabetes, metabolic diseases, vaccine development, and infectious diseases.

He is Auburn’s seventh veterinary medicine dean since the college was established.