Athens, Ga. – Alumnus and former administrator of the University of Georgia College of Veterinary Medicine Charles Dobbins Jr. has received the 2005 J.T. Mercer Lifetime Achievement Award from the Georgia Veterinary Medical Association (GVMA) in honor of his 31 years of outstanding service.
The award is made to a person who has distinguished him- or herself in a lifetime of service that greatly impacted both the UGA College of Veterinary Medicine and the Georgia Veterinary Medical Association.
Dobbins enjoyed an illustrious career at the veterinary college and has continued to serve the college and the profession in retirement.
“The College of Veterinary Medicine continues to rely on Dr. Dobbins for advice and assistance in addressing the concerns of the college and the profession, particularly those relating to the need for more veterinarians in rural practice,” said Sheila W. Allen, interim dean of the veterinary college.
As head of the former Veterinary Extension Service, Dobbins provided educational programs to animal industries and companion animal groups of Georgia and assisted county extension agents with animal health and disease prevention programs.
He worked with the Georgia Department of Agriculture and the federal eradication animal disease programs and served as secretary for the agriculture department’s hog cholera eradication committee.
“Charlie served as the liaison between the college faculty, the GVMA and livestock producers throughout Georgia and the Southeast. His diligent efforts earned him the respect of all those who worked with him,” according to David Anderson, former dean of the veterinary college.
While associate dean for service for the veterinary college, Dobbins was responsible for the Tifton and Athens diagnostic laboratories, as well as alumni relations, communications and the continuing education programs at the college. He helped build relationships between the college and Abraham Baldwin Agricultural College as well as with the Fort Valley Veterinary Technician program.
In the 1970s, Dobbins helped the extension service establish a contract with the Georgia Department of Corrections to manage the prison dairy and swine farms in Reidsville. These farms provide milk and pork to the state’s prisoners and are a learning laboratory for veterinary students, residents and interns who are interested in food animal medicine.
“The characteristics that impressed me most about Dr. Dobbins were how widely known and deeply respected he was by people all over Georgia and – regardless of the circumstances – his intense persistence in his endeavors,” added Keith W. Prasse, former dean.
Dobbins retired from the veterinary college in 1989 with 31 years of service but continues his involvement in the veterinary profession as co-chair of the GVMA legislative action committee.
As chair of the GVMA food animal committee, Dobbins has compiled a database of approximately 321 veterinarians in Georgia who practice food animal or mixed animal medicine. He has identified 53 counties in Georgia that lack food animal veterinarians and is working to provide funding for veterinary students who would serve those areas.
J.T. Mercer, for whom the award is named, was in the first graduating class of the veterinary college in 1950. Because he held so many leadership positions in the veterinary college and the GVMA for the next 45 years, the association established the J.T. Mercer Lifetime Achievement Award in his honor in 1999, with Mercer himself as the first recipient.
The University of Georgia College of Veterinary Medicine, founded in 1946, is dedicated to training future veterinarians, providing services to animal owners and veterinarians and conducting research to improve the health of animals and people.
Through its hospital and diagnostic laboratories, the college benefits pets and their owners, food producing animals, and wildlife. The laboratories safeguard public health through disease surveillance. Research at the college improves the health and quality of life for companion animals, as well as the productivity and health of poultry and livestock.