Dr. Randy Craig is passionate about passing on the knowledge and experience he gained from over three decades in the medical field. As director of the University of Mobile’s nationally accredited gross anatomy lab, he says there’s no substitute for the hands-on learning it provides the pre-med students he mentors.
He says UM’s cadaver lab one of less than 10 in the nation where undergraduate students can train on actual human specimens – something most students must wait until medical school to experience.
Craig’s years in veterinary medicine help him prepare students for the challenges they will face in medical school and, later, in practice. He knows you have to be smart and tough to succeed in medicine – something this certified private pilot experienced in his first careers as a thoroughbred jockey and champion bull-rider and steer-roper.
Q: What is your medical background?
A: Doctor of Veterinary Medicine, Bachelor of Science in General Medicine, in private practice for 30 years and an orthopedic surgeon for 25 years. My particular area of interest and special training was in veterinary orthopedic surgery and equine nutrition.
Q: Why did you decide to become a veterinarian?
A: I grew up in rural farm and ranch areas of Texas and have been involved extensively with animals my entire life. After high school, I was on the rodeo circuit, then rode thoroughbreds. After getting banged up a lot – I went to the hospital to see my daughter being born and had both arms taped to my body because of two broken shoulder blades – I decided it was time to do something different.
Q: What courses do you typically teach in the College of Arts and Sciences?
A; My favorite to teach is anatomy and physiology. I also teach genetics, microbiology, general physiology and human gross anatomy.
Q: How does UM’s pre-med program prepare students for medical school?
A: Whether pre-med students are aimed at careers as physicians, dentists, pharmacists, veterinarians or researchers, our faculty and curriculum will prepare them accordingly. Medicine is medicine. Whichever way you then specialize it on the other end is where it changes.
Q: UM offers “Higher Education for a Higher Purpose.” What does that mean to you?
A: We all are gifted by God with special or particular talents. We are to use those talents or skills for God’s purposes.
Q: What is something your students might be surprised to know about you?
A: I was on the rodeo circuit awhile after high school. I won the All-Around award several times for bull riding and steer roping. Later I got into riding thoroughbreds, starting out as a warm-up rider, then became a jockey. I could wear a helmet and hold my saddle and weigh less than 120 pounds back then. I traveled around riding for various owners and earned my pilot’s license to make traveling quicker. After I won the Raton Thoroughbred Derby in New Mexico, I decided to change course and started college.