Oct 062002
Authors: R. Bruce Smith

Since the students are returning to CSU I thought it might be a good time to let you know the sort of university you all attend.

Having attended CSU about 30 years ago, I remember times when I thought it was a hellhole and, occasionally, that it was a well-run college and a place I was lucky to be.

Earlier this summer I got a taste of both from CSU. Within four days we had one racehorse win a race and another fracture a bone in her leg. Even those who do not know a horse from a butterfly know that a broken leg is very often the kiss of death for a horse.

Wanting the best care available, I hauled my horse immediately from the racetrack to CSU.

The day of the week unfortunately was Sunday, so the Large Animal Hospital was short on staff, but high on costs. The really bad news came later when the broken-legged horse, after being medically stabilized, stood for three days before the surgery was done. As you all will find, one of the good things about getting older is younger people are less likely to blow you off, especially if you attack at the right spot.

Being mad as hell I attacked via contacting President Yates and the Dean of Veterinary Medicine. I had some second thoughts about writing a ‘CSU derogatory-type” letter to Dr. Yates because everything I see and hear about him impresses me. As for Vet Med I figured them for prima donnas, and said so.

As things turned out, I was right about Dr. Yates. I was wrong about the College of Veterinary Medicine.

Dr. Yates and/or Vet Med’s Dean Dr. Perryman very obviously made issue with the staff about my complaints. At that point, Professor Gayle Trotter was assigned my broken-legged horse.

Both Dr. Nelson, director of the Large Animal Hospital, and especially Dr. Trotter were very forthright in discussing the problems that had occurred. In doing so, there was some risk to them, and the university, that I might be a self-righteous guy looking for someone to sue.

In case you haven’t guessed, owners of racehorses tend to think of themselves as pretty damned hot, and every horse we own is a world champion something-or-other, or so we claim. So I was particularly impressed with plain talk and admissions of errors and discussions of changes the hospital would explore.

That is exactly what I wanted. Everyone involved agreed the delay should not have occurred. God only knows if it was material to the recovery of the horse or any pain to my would-have-been world champion.

The key point is that CSU’s response to an error was to do everything it could to correct it and prevent it from happening again. That is the measure of a good person, or for that matter a good institution.

I am still proud to be an alumnus. Like me, it will probably take the students of the year 2002 a few years to be proud of your graduation from CSU. Be aware there are people like me out there reviewing job applications from young people like you. I prefer CSU vets and engineers.

Be proud that you are good enough to be attending CSU. Today when I think of CSU I think of professors like Dr. Gayle trotter making the extra effort to do what needed to be done.

 Posted by at 5:00 pm

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