“Put your heart, mind, and soul into even your smallest acts. This is the secret of success.” – Swami Sivananda

Our school’s recent #1 rating in the QS World University Rankings for the third year in a row is a reason to celebrate. This honor is a form of validation that brings us praise from around the world and a much-deserved chance to highlight our excellence. We must remind ourselves also that rankings have little to do with our daily motivation or our work habits. These rankings do offer us the chance to shine a light on our achievements and lend us an opportunity to acknowledge those that set the stage for this lofty honor.

So how are these rankings determined and how did we obtain such recognition? Certainly, these types of rankings are based on both subjective and objective data. The scholarly output by our people documents the impact that our discoveries have in the world of veterinary sciences, as well as agricultural and biomedical sciences. Our faculty are driven to produce new knowledge, change paradigms, and challenge dogma. The result of their work opens new doors to basic mechanisms of life’s processes, produces new standards of care for our animal patients, and creates novel findings that build on the foundation of scientific knowledge to advance the health of our world. 

I would argue that our faculty, staff, house officers, and students come to work each day, not thinking that this will be the day that they will change the world. In fact, most of us are caught up in our daily routine, focused on what lies in front of us, and figuring out how these jobs will be accomplished while we are time-bound in an increasing complex and busy world. When I visit our various programs, I get the privilege of seeing the outstanding work our people do consistently and their accomplishments in real time throughout our institution.

When I visit our laboratories, and talk to our graduate students and faculty about their research, I see the excitement they feel when describing their latest discovery or experimental plans. Their thirst for knowledge is palpable and drives them in their work, knowing their results are not guaranteed. Their curiosity comes from within their soul and cannot be quantified. 

 A visit to our veterinary hospital is equally inspiring. From our front desk staff to our veterinary technicians, residents, and faculty, our clinical operations create miracles on a regular basis. Their compassionate care for their animal patients is linked with an intense desire to create novel treatments and push the limits of knowledge in veterinary disciplines ranging from surgery to internal medicine. Their success is created through teamwork, passion, and an innate desire to heal animals and teach the next generation of veterinarians who will lead our profession. Our residents come to us from all over the world to learn from the best and develop the knowledge and skills to become highly respected specialists.

When we couple our exceptional accomplishments in research and teaching, with our many centers of excellence – ranging from the One Health Institute to our species-focused centers in companion animal, livestock, and equine health – we are a powerful force that serves our stakeholders, while addressing societal needs in California and across the globe. Our service to society is demonstrated regularly as we use our expertise to protect our food supply, prevent emerging pandemics, and come to the aid of animals and communities across the world. 

In our service mission, our people come to their jobs motivated to protect animal and human health, thinking very little of world rankings. They serve, knowing that much of what they do will never be directly acknowledged by the vast majority of people in our society. Their passion is embedded in their humanity, pushing them to serve others, gaining satisfaction not from accolades, but from seeing how their good works make the world a better place.

The smallest acts we do on a daily basis that are driven by our heartfelt passion is the magic to our success, collectively building our reputation through thousands of acts of distinction in small, but impactful actions. It is my hope that this latest recognition of our school’s international standing reminds us to be appreciative for all those that came before us and cause us to reflect on the many talented people throughout our organization. Our future success is linked to our daily habits of excellence, and our passion to make the world a better place.