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Otterbein Towers: Maria Calderone - Legacy of Equine Science

Otterbein Towers: Maria Calderone - Legacy of Equine Science

Editor's Note: This and other stories appear in the Summer 2017 edition of Otterbein Towers Magazine, available online now.

A yearning to teach led Maria Calderone, DVM, from the horse barn to the Otterbein campus in the fall of 1984.

Calderone had been working at an equine ambulatory veterinary practice since graduating from The Ohio State University College of Veterinary Medicine in 1983.

She taught all the veterinarian-related courses within the Equine Science Program, which, at the time, was part of the Life Science Department at Otterbein. Calderone, who was appointed director of the program in 1985, introduced the Systems Courses, in which students studied each body system of the horse, its related anatomy and physiology, diseases, physical exam findings, diagnostic procedures, and treatments over the course of a year. Students also had the opportunity to dissect stallion and mare pony cadavers and practice diagnostic and examination techniques in their related labs.

“The most important aspect of my Otterbein experience was the joy of sharing my knowledge of and passion for horses with students who were as passionate about them as I,” Calderone said.

Under her leadership, the Equine Science Program flourished, eventually becoming its own department, initially offering majors in Equine Pre-Veterinary Medicine/Graduate Studies and Equine Business Management.  Added later, the Equine Veterinary Technology major prepared students to become Registered Veterinary Technicians via an articulation agreement with Columbus State Community College, whose Veterinary Technology Program is accredited by the American Veterinary Medical Association.  Calderone served as department chair until 2006, and retired from teaching in 2015.

“I think the fact that I was a veterinarian helped equine science to be recognized as a more serious program then it had been in the past,” said Calderone about her legacy at Otterbein. “Certainly, I was able to enlarge the curriculum quite a bit.  Also gratifying is that one of my former students, a graduate of the Ohio State University College of Veterinary Medicine, is currently chair of the Department of Equine Science.   Thus the circle is complete.”

That would be Sheri Birmingham, DVM, a 2001 Otterbein graduate. Birmingham credits Calderone for much of her success in practice and teaching.

“Dr. Calderone provided me with a hands-on equine education that created a strong foundation for future learning,” Birmingham said. “To this day, I still recall things she taught me while practicing veterinary medicine and teaching my students. You know you have learned from one of the best when you still hear her voice 15 years later. I am thankful to her for all she has done for me as well as the Department of Equine Science. She built an equine pre-veterinary curriculum and pedagogy that not only served me well, but will serve many students to come.”

Learn more about the Department of Equine Science.