Campus News Science & Technology

UGA College of Veterinary Medicine names poultry veterinarian ‘Distinguished Alumnus’

Athens, Ga. – An internationally recognized expert in poultry medicine, who recently retired as head of the University of Georgia Poultry Diagnostic and Research Center, was recognized as a “Distinguished Alumnus” by the Alumni Association of the UGA College of Veterinary Medicine.

John R. Glisson (DVM ’80) of Watkinsville received the award at a ceremony held March 24, during the college’s 49th Annual Veterinary Conference and Alumni Weekend. Glisson retired in 2011 after serving 25 years on the college’s faculty. He has launched a second career as director of research for the U.S. Poultry and Egg Harold E. Ford Foundation.

“John has the unique ability to give you his undivided attention when you know that there are 100 strings pulling on him at any moment,” wrote one supporter. “His warmth toward his fellow man extends to every aspect of his professional mentoring of students and colleagues.”

Glisson joined the CVM’s faculty in 1984. In 12 years, he progressed from instructor to both full professor and clinical service chief for the department of avian medicine. In 2003, he was selected to lead that department and oversaw its transition into the department of population health, which includes the Poultry Diagnostic and Research Center, the Southeastern Cooperative Wildlife Disease Study, the food animal health management program and the laboratory animal program.

Despite only a 10 percent research appointment, he brought in some 80 grants during his time at the CVM. He also co-developed two vaccines and a DNA encoding process, all of which are now patented.

Glisson holds editorial roles for five professional publications; has authored numerous studies, abstracts and book chapters; has made hundreds of professional presentations worldwide; and has served on numerous professional committees, including many aimed at national and international poultry issues.

“His ability to find the good in a person and amplify it has endeared him to everyone who has had the good fortune to know him,” wrote one nominator. “He recently had a retirement party where hundreds of people traveled from all over the United States as well as other countries to pay tribute to a man who had meant so much to them.”

The college’s alumni association recognizes a few distinguished alumni each spring. Nominees must have graduated from the UGA College of Veterinary Medicine and made contributions in one or more of the following areas:

• Animal and human health related public service;
• Professional service;
• Involvement in veterinary educational research and/or service;
• Contributions to the local community, state or nation;
• Involvement in veterinary associations at the local, state or national level; and
• Contributions to the college’s Alumni Association.

UGA College of Veterinary Medicine
The UGA College of Veterinary Medicine, founded in 1946, is dedicated to training future veterinarians, to conducting research related to animal and human diseases, and to providing veterinary services for animals and their owners. Research efforts are aimed at enhancing the quality of life for animals and people, improving the productivity of poultry and livestock, and preserving a healthy interface between wildlife and people in the environment they share. The college enrolls 102 students each fall out of more than 560 who apply. For more information, see For more information about the Alumni Association of the UGA College of Veterinary Medicine, see