As an undergraduate at Union, Gordon “Gordie” Ellmers, D.V.M. ’71 felt like he “fit in very, very well. I really liked studying at Union. There were so many intelligent and nice people around me – the faculty, the staff, the students. Fred Levy ’72 was my roommate more than 50 years ago, and we still keep in touch.”
When Gordie went on to study veterinary medicine at Cornell, he appreciated the thorough and high-quality preparation he had received as a physics major at Union. “The vet school courses were tough, but I was ready for them,” he observed.
After graduating from Cornell in 1980, Gordie joined the veterinary practice his father had established in Fort Edward, N.Y. Gordie still practices part-time, and he and his wife, Lynn, live in the house adjoining the clinic – the very same house where he was raised. “Growing up alongside the practice made it natural for me to follow in my father’s footsteps,” Gordie noted, “My uncle was also a vet, so I was the third person in my family to become a veterinarian.”
Gordie made his first gift to Union as a senior, continued while he was in veterinary school and has given every year since then. “I make it a point to give to Union, because Union gave a lot to me. Union prepared me to do pretty much whatever I wanted to do!”
When Gordie isn’t meeting with people and caring for their pets, he can be found outdoors taking photographs. He first bought a digital camera 20 years ago to facilitate the exchange of x-rays from his clinic to the radiologists reading the x-rays. “I ended up turning the lens of the camera to the birds visiting my yard. Now, I go out every single day to take photos.”
Gordie turns over many of his stunning photographs to Friends of the Washington County Grasslands Important Bird Area (IBA). The IBA encompasses 13,000 acres of critical grassland habitat in Argyle, Fort Edward and Kingsbury, N.Y. Gordie commented, “I give them all the photos they want. I also sell a lot of my photographs through an annual sale with all proceeds going toward the preservation of the grasslands.”