Stan Baker already held degrees in chemical engineering and law when he came to UGA for vet school
Stan Baker (DVM ’08) always wanted to be a veterinarian. But at the University of Arkansas, where he completed his under- graduate work, his older brother recommended he pursue chemical engineering. It was a good move, he says.
“Succeeding in the chemical engineering curriculum gave me the confidence I needed to do everything else.”
After engineering school he went on to law school at Arkansas and worked for awhile as an environmental and patent attorney.
At age 32, the pull to pursue a degree in veterinary medicine was still there. It took four years of night classes for him to earn the credits required just to apply to vet school. But he did it, and in 2008 at age 40, Baker graduated from the UGA College of Veterinary Medicine.
He is believed to be the only person in the country to hold degrees in chemical engineering, law and vet med.
“I am probably the only patent attorney who ever worked as a kennel boy while practicing law,” Baker says. “I was cleaning soiled cages to gain veterinary related hours to apply for vet school.”
After earning his DVM, Baker, a native of Earle, Ark., returned to northwest Arkansas where he uses all his degrees. He owns a legal practice focusing on intellectual property and veterinary policy, he provides relief work for local vets, and he maintains a side practice as the only veterinarian in northwest Arkansas (and one of three in the state) certified as a veterinary acupuncturist, a skill he acquired through additional training at Florida’s Chi Institute.
Baker says he found the experience of attending vet school as an older student to be very grounding. After spending years working in the upper echelon of the legal community and rubbing elbows with well-to-do clients and colleagues, he was reminded how hard people work just to get by.
“One thing sticks out in my mind particularly, taking night classes at a community college and meeting nursing assistants who worked extra 16-hour shifts over the weekends so they could have extra time and money in the week to spend on organic chemistry classes,” he says. “It makes you appreciate how hard some have to work to do well in this world.”
He hopes to use his experience to help others.
“The faculty and staff of the vet school always emphasized the service aspect of veterinary medicine, both at the individual client and public health levels,” Baker says. “My goal is to leverage my unique educational background to make a positive contribution to the veterinary profession either as a lawyer or veterinarian. ”
“I’m living proof that it is never too late to make a change, and I’d like to be able to help people make the positive changes in their lives I’ve been able to make.”