The School of Veterinary Medicine, the 17th in the United States, opened its doors on Monday, March 1, 1948, with Dean Clarence McElroy on hand to welcome 31 students. McElroy (affectionately known as "Dean Mac") had been involved in a much earlier attempt to start a veterinary school at Oklahoma A&M College as an assistant to Dr. L. L. Lewis. That experience had been McElroy's personal motivation to become a veterinarian himself. Dr. Duane Peterson taught the first class at the new school. The first new building for the school was constructed in 1949.