Alumni from far and near return for Homecoming & Family Weekend
October 9, 2008
Veterinarians, son celebrate first homecoming
Patrick Connolly, '80 D.V.M. and Elizabeth "Betsy" Connolly, '81 D.V.M., are traveling from Thousand Oaks, Calif., to attend their first Colorado State University homecoming.
One of the highlights for these alumni will be the chance to see their son, James, a freshman engineering major, perform with the CSU Marching Band at halftime during Saturday's football matchup against Texas Christian University at Hughes Stadium.
"Seeing our son and going to the College of Engineering Open House will be highlights of being back on campus, but attending the rest of the homecoming festivities should be great fun, too," said Dr. Patrick Connolly.
New generation finds good fit at Colorado State
Freshman James Connolly chose Colorado State for its top notch engineering program and because he found Fort Collins to be a great community. The CSU campus was also a big draw.
"We all thought the Academic Village was the best campus housing of any university we visited in five western states," Connolly said.
Patrick and his wife, Betsy, attended Colorado State as veterinary medicine graduate students and were so busy with their studies they missed out on a lot of fun during their student days.
"Although it was hard work, our veterinary school experience was fantastic."
Fond memories include special faculty mentors
Not all their memories of veterinary school are serious, though.
"One of my favorite memories involves a group of us playing a trick on our outstanding professor and mentor, Dr. Steve Withrow. Getting trapped in a dog run and being hosed with water by several senior veterinary students, Withrow was a good sport about it, but he and I ended up getting soaked," Connolly said.
Leaving Colorado to find a community where both veterinarians could find employment, the Connollys ended up in Southern California, where Patrick was hired by a Thousand Oaks veterinary practice started by famous CSU veterinary alumnus, Dr. Robert M. Miller, an equine behaviorist and "cartoonist extraordinaire."
"Betsy started her own practice and worked on horses until all hours of the night for 20 years. By then our children, Kate and James, needed a more available parent," noted Connolly.
Betsy retired from active practice but stayed busy as president of PTA and band boosters and teaching animal science and zoology at local community colleges. She is currently campaigning for a position on the local school board.
Cats, dogs, birds and movie star monkeys
Patrick continues to be an active veterinarian.
"In 1991, I was fortunate to become a partner in Conejo Valley Veterinary Hospital. There are 14 veterinarians working in the practice that Dr. Miller started. We see all kinds of animals, but I primarily work on dogs and cats, with an occasional bird, pocket pet or monkey thrown in, including the capuchin monkey from the 'Pirates of the Caribbean' movie."
Wise advice to enjoy CSU experience
After being away from campus for more than 25 years, Connolly offers some wise advice for current students.
"Try to find a career that you can enjoy doing the rest of your life. Take some chances; experiment a little. I started out as a math major, then an architect, and for awhile I toyed with being a psychiatrist. Luckily, Betsy and I hit upon veterinary medicine," Connolly said.
Connolly continues, "Make the most of your opportunities at CSU and have fun, especially this homecoming weekend. We will."
And, particular advice for his son, James, Dr. Connolly says, "Study hard."
Contact: Jayleen Heft
Phone Number: (970) 491-2655