Gilley's 1995 JAVMA Cover Art Honored in Jubilee

Headshot of Gilley holding book Lincoln Memorial University-Richard A. Gillespie College of Veterinary Medicine (LMU-CVM) Assistant Professor Alexandra Gilley was recognized by the Journal of the American Veterinary Medical Association (JAVMA) for her cover art featured on the May 1995 issue.

JAVMA spent 2023 honoring journal cover illustrations created by those associated with the veterinary profession over a 50-year period. Gilley’s cover was a pen and ink drawing using a technique called stippling, a tribute to her husband Rob’s faithful and beloved Irish Setter named Shannon.

“Rob had Shannon for several years before I met him. One day, he suffered an episode of acute and unexplained respiratory distress. Rob and I were veterinary students at the University of Florida in Gainesville at that time and we rushed Shannon to their emergency service. Resuscitation attempts were unsuccessful, and we were left in shock and heartbroken,” Gilley said. “I wanted to do something for Rob in remembrance of Shannon and submitted the original pen and ink artwork to JAVMA.”

When her entry was selected, she requested that it be published on the month and year of Rob’s graduation from veterinary school in May of 1995.

“Rob was so appreciative, and it has kept Shannon’s memory alive to this day,” Gilley said.

Growing up and in veterinary school, Gilley found that creating animal-inspired art was a great stress-relieving outlet and allowed her to celebrate the power of the human-animal bond. As a veterinary student at the University of Florida College of Veterinary Medicine, she designed t-shirts for various class fundraisers, illustrated the cover of the awards banquet program and the official college Christmas card.

The journal reprinted historical cover art throughout 2023 as part of its Golden Jubilee celebration of cover art and the creation of beautiful art for the veterinary profession, according to Dr. Lisa Fortier, editor-in-chief of JAVMA and its sister research-oriented publication, the American Journal of Veterinary Research. All 181 pieces of cover art were recognized with reproduction in “JAVMArt Jubilee: Celebrating 50 Years of Our Favorite Cover Art.”

“Featuring animal art on the cover of a scientific journal is unique to JAVMA and is very popular with our members, readers and the veterinary art community,” Fortier wrote in a message to members earlier this year. “When we first began publishing cover artwork, we didn’t do so with every issue. Over time, however, the enthusiastic public response to these images prompted us to run them with increasing frequency, until eventually every issue featured animal art on its cover.”

Lincoln Memorial University (LMU) is a values-based learning community dedicated to providing educational experiences in the liberal arts and professional studies. The LMU-Richard A. Gillespie College of Veterinary Medicine is located on LMU’s main campus in Harrogate, Tennessee, with additional academic facilities in nearby Lee County, Virginia. LMU-CVM is an integral part of the University’s medical programs and provides real-world, community-based education in a collaborative learning environment. For more information about LMU-CVM, call 1.800.325.0900, ext. 6600 or visit us online at
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