From the time she was seven years old, Frances Smith wanted to be a veterinarian. After high school, she went to college and was accepted to pre-veterinary school, but life presented her with a few detours that led her to postpone her education.
In 1973 Smith decided the time was right to continue the pursuit of her childhood dream. She wanted to resume her education at a place that was convenient and provided quality, affordable education. Normandale fit the bill and Smith believes it provided her the solid foundation she needed to build the successful career she currently enjoys.
“I was very impressed with the level of teaching that the instructors provided when I came to Normandale,” said Smith. “I knew going back to school after 10 years that I would need a refresher in some of the science classes. I took chemistry and physics, and my instructors did an excellent job of teaching the material so it stuck with me. Without the Normandale background I would not be where I am today. I needed the inspiration of quality instructors, and Normandale did a great job of providing that.”
Smith earned her Associate of Arts degree from Normandale Community College in 1976 before enrolling at the University of Minnesota College of Veterinary Science, where she earned her bachelor’s degree in 1978, and her Doctor of Veterinary Medicine degree in 1980.
She accepted a residency in Small Animal Reproduction at the University of Minnesota (1980-83) and completed her Ph.D. degree in 1984.
She became a diplomate of the American College of Theriogenologists in 1986. Smith is a recognized expert in small animal reproduction and one of the only board-certified small animal reproduction specialists in private practice in the United States.
In 1985, Smith opened a veterinary practice in Burnsville. After 15 years, she sold her interest to a partner and opened a new business, the Smith Veterinary Hospital Inc. Because of Smith’s expertise in small animal reproduction, her business does well locally and also draws many clients from neighboring states. She even has a customer who flies in annually from Saudi Arabia.
Though she always had a clear vision of her career path, Smith emphasizes that the ease of which she was able to get back into college at Normandale played a big role in her success.
“I would say the atmosphere at Normandale for an adult learner was extremely supportive,” said Smith. “When you are going to school with children and a job, it takes a specific focus to be successful. Normandale instructors have a great understanding and appreciation for that, and the class schedule is extremely flexible.”