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Spotlight

some of the faculty and students,” Varner said. The visit led to a lasting friendship between Varner’s father and the veterinarian, Dr. Joe McGinity. As an undergraduate studying agriculture at the University of Missouri, Varner continued to compete in rodeos. But one day in the student union, an informational booth on veterinary medicine caught his eye. “My heart was set on making the national finals of the Rodeo Cowboy Association in those days,” he said, “but somehow I picked up an application form for veterinary school that was due the following Monday.” With some help from his mother, Varner managed to both compete in the rodeo in western Kansas and finish his veterinary school application. In addition to helping him put together his application letter, Varner’s mother also insisted that he include informational brochures on the Ozark Stampede. He said, “I reckon I owe my acceptance into veterinary school solely to my adoring mother!” Varner was accepted to veterinary school at the University of Missouri. “I entered the professional curriculum with

Dr. Varner with Pepto and Shiner 58 •

• Winter 2017

little idea of what to expect. Nonetheless, I enjoyed all facets of this educational experience,” he said. Veterinary school was where Varner discovered his passion for theriogenology. He quickly became enamored with the clinical rotations that focused on theriogenology and learned firsthand from experts in the field. “It was this experience that prompted me to focus on animal reproduction following graduation.” In addition to finding his passion in veterinary school, Varner also found the love of his life, fellow student Tricia Anne Wilcox. “We married during her senior year of veterinary school, and she has stuck by the side of this renegade for the last 38 years!” he said. Varner credits a number of his accomplishments to her support and guidance. The couple would eventually have two sons, Victor and Zack, and four grandchildren.

Life as a Researcher After graduating from the University of Missouri, Varner sought more experience in theriogenology, so he interned

CVM Today - Winter 2017  

A semi-annual publication for the faculty, staff, students, alumni, and friends of the Texas A&M College of Veterinary Medicine & Biomedical...

CVM Today - Winter 2017  

A semi-annual publication for the faculty, staff, students, alumni, and friends of the Texas A&M College of Veterinary Medicine & Biomedical...