From the desk of President Leslie K. Guice

Dr. William Green: A personal story of perseverance and passion

Feb 24, 2014 | Faculty Feature

William Green 1William Green graduated from Dubach High School and then majored in Animal Science/Pre-veterinary Medicine at Louisiana Tech. He married Barbara McGee in 1965, the summer before his senior year at Tech. Barbara had graduated in three years in Home Economics and had taken a teaching position at Simsboro High School. During his senior year at Tech, William applied to veterinary school at both Texas A&M and Auburn University, but he was not accepted at either university. Since all of his future plans revolved around his going to veterinary school the next year, he and his wife had to re-group. “I considered giving up my dream of becoming a veterinarian since being accepted into veterinary school was so competitive,” William said. “I graduated from Tech in 1966 and applied for a couple of assistant county agent jobs. Since veterinary school seemed out of the question, I was seriously considering one of those opportunities.” Then Barbara got a call about an assistantship in Home Economics at LSU. After some in-depth discussions, William and Barbara decided to move to Baton Rouge, where Barbara would be on an assistantship and William would apply to graduate school at LSU. He was accepted and was offered an assistantship in Animal Science. “Life was good at LSU. We both loved our work and school. We were so very fortunate to work under wonderful people. Barbara worked under Dr. Harvye Lewis and I worked under Dr. Stewart Fowler.” William re-applied to veterinary school in the fall of 1967 for admission in the fall of 1968, and got a notice in April that he was an alternate at Auburn University. He felt that the chances of being accepted were not good, so he continued looking at other opportunities. bovine vaccinationBarbara was to graduate in the spring of 1968 and William was to graduate in the fall of 1968. They continued making alternate plans since chances of getting into veterinary school seemed slim. “We were expecting our first child in September. Dr. George Robertson, the Department Head of Animal Science at LSU knew about my predicament and told me about a job that I might be interested in pursuing. He described it as a perfect fit for me and the employer. In fact, he volunteered to accompany me to the job interview.” While William was waiting to leave for the job interview, Dr. Robertson got a message and had to take a phone call. After a few minutes, he returned and asked, “Do you want to go to this interview so you can have a job when you graduate next month or do you want to go to veterinary school?” William assured him that he really wanted to become a veterinarian. Dr. Robertson smiled and informed William that he was in the 1968 fall class in the School of Veterinary Medicine at Auburn University. Dr. Robertson said the phone call was from the head of the selection committee of Auburn’s Veterinary School. The reason for the phone call was to ask his opinion as to his choice between several candidates in the running for the remaining slot. Dr. Robertson had no hesitancy in giving them William’s name. William was one of only six candidates from Louisiana who were admitted to veterinary schools that year – four to Auburn and two to Oklahoma State (LSU did not have a veterinary school until 1973.) Today, approximately 55 veterinary students from Louisiana are admitted to LSU Veterinary School each year. However, veterinary medicine is still a highly competitive profession to enter. Prospective students must focus on their studies to be considered a strong applicant for veterinary school. William said that he was fortunate to have many professors who were regarded as leaders in their field of study. Several of them had written textbooks that are still used today. After graduation from veterinary school in 1972, William worked for a veterinarian in Ruston for seven months and then started his own practice in his hometown of Dubach. The practice was an ambulatory large animal practice for a couple of years. He built a clinic in 1974 and at that point started seeing small animals. He continued to practice there in the small rural community with a population of approximately 1,000 people for 27 years. While on a veterinary call in 1995, William was nearly killed in a head-on automobile accident. The accident left him physically unable to practice veterinary medicine as he had in the past. After one year of intensive physical therapy, he decided to sell his veterinary practice. He began working at Louisiana Tech on a full-time basis as the university veterinarian and a professor of Animal Science. William is one of the advisors for the pre-veterinary medicine students and a teacher of six different classes related to animal science and veterinary medicine. William’s philosophy about teaching is reflected in his passion about student learning.  “My philosophy is that parents trust me to educate and advise their children so that they will be prepared for further education or employment. I take this trust very seriously because I would want that for my children. I try to keep open communications with the students and their parents. I want them to get the best educational experience they can have, but I also want them to be able to say that I cared about them making a positive impact on society when they leave school. My personal experiences during the years of veterinary practice are invaluable in my teaching. I feel more qualified to teach and advise future veterinary students because I have experienced first-hand the profession that they are pursuing. I know about the hard work and ups and downs of veterinary practice.” William’s veterinary experience, his compassion for animals and people, and his communication skills have served him well at Tech. He advises and helps students prepare themselves and their applications for veterinary school. He knows the feeling of rejection, how it feels to be selected as an alternate, and how it feels to be one who has gained acceptance into veterinary school. Those experiences drive him to ensure that his students are prepared. William remains in close contact with the LSU School of Veterinary Medicine so he can better assist our pre-veterinary students. He also assists the LSU SVM with their student selection process by frequently assisting with folder reviews and interviews. William noted, “The gratification that I get from my job is having a parent of one of my students thank me for helping, encouraging or just being a positive influence in their child’s life. I try to keep up with a lot of my former students and their expression of appreciation for the part I played in their lives is gratifying. One of the humbling events in my career is that my peers nominated me to serve on the Louisiana Board of Veterinary Medicine. This board regulates veterinary practice in Louisiana to make sure that the public is protected from unscrupulous veterinary practice and to make sure that all Louisiana veterinarians are credentialed to practice. I have been appointed by two different governors (Blanco and Jindal) to serve on this board. I have served nine years and am now president of the board. It is very stressful when you have to sanction one of your colleagues. Yet, it is gratifying to know that my colleagues recommended me for this position with the trust that I will use common sense and good judgment to make decisions that are fair to the veterinarian and the public. I use these experiences in a generic way to instruct our future veterinary students how to conduct themselves ethically and responsibly when they become a veterinarian.” William still lives on the farm where he grew up and is still near the clinic where he first practiced. He and Barbara have two children, Kayla and Kyle.  Kayla is married to Bobby Robison and they have two children, Mattie and Will. Kyle is married to Amy Andrews Green and they have two children, Chloe and Dayton. William serves as a deacon and Sunday School teacher in his church.  He participates in local, state and national veterinary associations as well as in agricultural functions such as local and state cattlemen associations. He keeps excellent relationships with area veterinarians and communicates with them regularly regarding volunteer and employment opportunities for our students. William is having a big impact on Tech students, particularly those pre-vet students who benefit from his passion and from his own personal understanding about perseverance in becoming a veterinarian.  William said, “I enjoy my job and get paid for something I like to do, I enjoy the people I work with, and the students challenge me.” And I have heard from many of our pre-vet graduates who are most grateful that Dr. Green has challenged and mentored them while students at Tech and as graduates afterwards.