University Museums

Title: The Gentle Doctor
Name: Sculpture
Date: 1937-1938
Medium: Terra cotta
Dimensions: 80 x 24 1/2 x 23 in. (203.2 x 62.2 x 58.4 cm)
Classification: Sculpture
Credit Line: In the Christian Petersen Art Collection, Art on Campus Collection, University Museums, Iowa State University, Ames, Iowa.
Location: Iowa State University, Hixson-Lied Small Animal Hospital
Object Number: U84.179
More Information
The Gentle Doctor sculpture is the symbol of the College of Veterinary Medicine at Iowa State as well as the veterinary profession throughout much of the world. Petersen wished to add a central figure to the mural which would present a gentler, more compassionate image of veterinarians, to contrast with the purposeful and clinical struggle of the scientists depicted in the mural. Petersen also wanted to humanize the profession. His solution was to present a veterinarian coming to the aid of an ailing family pet.

This is the original sculpture which stood for 40 years in the old Veterinary Medicine Quadrangle on central campus. It is now situated at the entrance to the Small Animal Clinic, Veterinary Medicine Complex. The statue was recast in bronze by Paul Shao, a talented architecture professor and sculptor on the faculty of Iowa State University's College of Design through a gift to the College of Veterinary Medicine from Dr. & Mrs. J. E. Salsbury. The bronze cast is now sited at the exterior entrance to the Vet Complex.