Iowa State University

Inside Iowa State
August 13, 1999

Petersens model for The Gentle Doctor dies

Dr. Lawrence Forland, the model for Christian Petersen's The Gentle Doctor, died July 31 in Mason City.

Petersen, whose sculptures are displayed throughout campus, was an artist-in-residence at Iowa State from 1934 to 1955. In 1936, Petersen met Forland, then a freshmen pre-vet student who did janitorial work in the building that housed the sculptor's studio. The two often spoke while Forland swept up Petersen's studio.

It wasn't until 1983 that Forland discovered that he had been the model for the sculpture that depicts a young veterinarian in a lab coat carefully holding a puppy in his arms. The sculpture stands outside the main entrance to the College of Veterinary Medicine.

"If we had a few minutes time, he (Petersen) would ask me to stand for him while he carved away at a small pile of clay. He had me hold a small pillow between my forearms in a position similar to that of a little pup," Forland was quoted as saying in Patricia Lounsberry Bliss' Christian Petersen Remembered.

Forland received his DVM from Iowa State in 1941 and practiced veterinary medicine in the Northwood area his entire career.

The hands of The Gentle Doctor were those of Dr. William R. Born, who received a veterinary medicine degree from Iowa State in 1940, and died in 1966. Iowa State homepage

Inside Iowa State,, University Relations
Copyright © 1999, Iowa State University, all rights reserved

Revised 08/13/99