Art Antin is a proud alumnus of Bronx Community College. But his visit on Thursday, October 4, was the first time he had been on the historic University Heights campus since it became the home of BCC in 1973 — he graduated in the 1960s. In the intervening years, Mr. Antin went into business, becoming the co-founder of Veterinary Centers of America (VCA), the largest animal health care company in the world with over 800 animal hospitals in 43 states and five Canadian provinces and providing diagnostic services to more than 17,000 independent hospitals. It was acquired by Mars, Inc. in 2017 for over $9 billion.
Mr. Antin came to BCC as part of the Trailblazers series, in which successful alumni return to share the knowledge they’ve acquired in their careers with students dreaming of the careers ahead of them. In that capacity, Mr. Antin spoke to a classroom of business and animal care majors in North Hall and Library about what goes into the creation of a successful business.
“I loved the opportunity to come back and share my story,” he said. “I know that the students are not sure of what they want to do or where they’re going to end up. I sat in that seat.”
His basic message: “Stay in school. BCC was the stepping stone for everything I did. I know I wouldn’t be here if I didn’t get my degree and went on from there.”
After the class, Mr. Antin toured Meister Hall’s science labs with President Isekenegbe and other administrators, noting “Everybody in this room is here only because we are educated.”
Mr. Antin’s appearance was only part of his involvement in BCC life. Over the summer, a VCA regional vice president visited the campus to help establish ties between the College and the company, with an eye towards sending future speakers to BCC to talk to students who might be considering futures in veterinary medicine. “There’s a market for people with those skills,” Mr. Antin observed. Also discussed during his visit — the possibility of a pop-up clinic to which BCC students could bring their ailing pets.