When Dr. Don Ley graduated from the Professional Veterinary Medical Program at Colorado State University in 1974, little did he know that he would be the first in what would become a Ley family legacy. On Saturday, May 16, Don’s nephew Tyler Ley will become the sixth person in his family to graduate from Colorado State University with a Doctor of Veterinary Medicine.
“Our dad was a human surgeon practicing in Pueblo, (Colo.), and he greatly influenced all of us kids to develop a strong interest in medicine,” said Dr. Mike Ley, Don’s younger brother (and one of the family’s 10 children). “Dad also gave us the opportunity to grow up on a ranch, and that gave us an appreciation of the wonders of the natural world, of the wildlife around us, and of the animals on the ranch that were a part of our daily lives.”
Following graduation, Dr. Don Ley set up Fourmile Veterinary Clinic in Canõn City, Colo., from which he retired last year. Younger brother Bill Ley graduated with his DVM from CSU in 1979 and went on to complete an internship and residency at University of California at Davis and Texas A&M, respectively, specializing in theriogenology. He now owns an equine practice in Rectortown, Va.
The next brother in line was Dr. Mike Ley, who graduated from CSU with his DVM in 1981. He completed an internship at the West Los Angeles Animal Hospital and then returned to Colorado to establish Seven Hills Veterinary Center in Aurora, Colo., in 1985. In 2001, the first of the next generation graduated. Dr. Jeremy Ley, Don’s son, followed in his dad’s footsteps and now owns the clinic his dad started in Canõn City.
Samantha Ley, Don’s daughter, graduated with her DVM in 2006 and also joined her dad’s practice. She married two years later and moved to a ranch in southern Colorado, from where she currently practices. Tyler will be the last to graduate from the current generation. He has accepted a position in Las Vegas, Nev., as an associate veterinarian, though his dad Mike hopes he will be back in Colorado to join Seven Hills in a year or two.
“Veterinary medicine has been such an important part of our families and lives,” said Dr. Mike Ley. “First and foremost, our interest in medicine and surgery was greatly influenced by our dad. Second, we get the opportunity to work with people. And then, we get to work in an area we are passionate about – helping animals, whether it’s people’s pets or large animals.”
For the Leys, Colorado State University has been an important part of the family veterinary legacy (all of Don’s and Mike’s children are CSU graduates, including a few non-DVM renegades). Tyler, noted Dr. Mike Ley, is most likely the last of his generation to attend veterinary school but, in another 20 years, who knows? The family may be gathering once again in Fort Collins to celebrate the seventh graduate from the CSU Professional Veterinary Medical Program.