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Oklahoma State University

Iben House

iben crest

Dr. June Iben was the first female veterinarian to graduate from Oklahoma State University. She is best known for her love and devotion to large exotic felids.  Fly without borders best describes her journey in veterinary medicine, as she defied the norm and paved the way for many future female veterinarians. Dr. Iben was born in 1927 in Monaca, Pennsylvania.  She obtained a B.S. in biology from Allegheny College and a master's degree in bacteriology from the University of Kentucky. In 1955, she became the first woman to graduate in Large Animal Husbandry from the Oklahoma State University College of Veterinary Medicine. After teaching at the Washington State University School of Veterinary Medicine and working in private practice, Dr. Iben opened and ran her own practice for 35 years.  She was known for her love of large exotic cats. She hand-raised two lions, four bobcats, a margay, a cougar, many large breed dogs and one domestic cat, named "CC" for common cat. She was included in the first edition of "Who's Who in American Women in 1958-59," and in 1999, she received the "Public Service Award of Merit" from the Pennsylvania VMA for her work in rescuing large exotic cats.

In 1998, at age 71, she closed her private practice, accepted a part-time position at another veterinary clinic, and went to live on the premises of the Western PA National Wild Animal Orphanage to help care for rescued lions, tigers, cougars and other exotic cats. Toward the end of her life, Dr. Iben shared her home with Munchkin, a rescued cougar, fulfilling her dream of "going to sleep at night listening to the purring of a cougar and the roar of lions" just outside her windows. Dr. Iben was also musically talented, playing both saxophone and clarinet in her church band.  At her 50th veterinary school reunion, she credits all her achievements to those who helped her, saying, "there is no self-made person; you owe your success to all those who helped and guided you." Dr. Iben passed away in 2008 at the age of 81.

The scissortail flycatcher is the state bird of Oklahoma. Also known as the Texas bird-of-paradise the scissortail flycatcher is a long-tailed bird, whose members are collectively referred to as “kingbirds.” Their long tail proves useful as they expertly catch insects on the wing with sharp midair twists and turns. Birds in general represent peace and freedom.

The color blue is often associated with depth and stability and symbolizes trust, responsibility, wisdom, and confidence. Like Dr. Iben, blue is sincere, reserved, hates confrontation, and likes to do things in its own way.