Campus News

UGA’s College of Veterinary Medicine honors distinguished alumni

UGA’s Grady College, WNEG-TV celebrate milestone with newscast

Athens, Ga. – The University of Georgia College of Veterinary Medicine awarded honors for distinguished alumni at the 45th Annual Veterinary Conference and Alumni Reunion held recently. The class of 1958 was given special honors for their 50th anniversary of graduation from the college, presented by current veterinary students. Walter W. “Dub” Dickson, Matthew P. Mackay-Smith, Corinne R. Sweeney and William Thomas Riddle received distinguished alumnus awards, and Michael J. Gay received the Young Achiever Award.

“We are proud of our College of Veterinary Medicine alumni,” said Dean Sheila W. Allen, who presided over the ceremonies. “They represent the very best in our profession and bring a wealth of knowledge and experience to this annual event. We are pleased to honor their years of service to veterinary medicine and their loyalty to the University of Georgia.”

Dickson has been influential in working with government and higher education officials for the establishment of what is now known as North Carolina State University College of Veterinary Medicine. He served as president of the North Carolina Veterinary Medical Association and has received numerous honors for his 54 years of service to the veterinary profession and his community.

Mackay-Smith is one of the most respected equine veterinary professionals in the country. The co-founder and medical editor of EQUUS Magazine has bridged the gap between veterinarians and horse owners, educating the public on equine care and management. He is a life-long, distinguished equestrian in endurance riding, and his work with hoof and farrier education earned him an induction into American Farrier’s International Veterinarian Hall of Fame.

Sweeney has led a distinguished academic career at the University of Pennsylvania’s School of Veterinary Medicine for the last 30 years. Sweeney, associate dean for the New Bolton Center and COO and executive hospital director for the George D. Widener Hospital for Large Animals, has established both a national and international reputation for her expertise in equine respiratory disorders, particularly the epidemiology of exercise induced pulmonary hemorrhage in racehorses and pleuropneumonia. She and her school were thrust into the spotlight nearly two years ago as Barbaro fractured his leg during the Preakness Stakes and was taken to the New Bolton Center for treatment.

Riddle is the co-founder of one of the most prestigious equine practices in the country, Rood & Riddle Equine Hospital in Lexington, Ky. Rood and Riddle employs 52 veterinarians on a 24-acre campus with nine barns and 140 stalls. More than 170 veterinarians have completed internships at the hospital, and recently they have established a residency program recognized by the American College of Veterinary Surgeons. Riddle is one of the first veterinarians to develop and perform “fetal sexing” in large numbers of pregnant mares and to recognize and report mare reproductive loss syndrome, one of the most devastating diseases in thoroughbred breeding in Kentucky.

Gay completed an internship at Veterinary Specialists of Connecticut. He then spent two years working as an emergency veterinarian in the Atlanta area. Within three years of graduating from veterinary school, Gay started his own veterinary emergency and specialty practice, Farmington Valley Veterinary Emergency Hospital in Avon, Conn. He served as owner and chief of staff while performing the duties of the primary veterinarian. In 2005, Gay sold his practice to pursue an anesthesiology residency at UGA. In 2006, he completed externships in internal medicine at UGA and emergency and critical care at Colorado State University.

Founded in 1946, the University of Georgia College of Veterinary Medicine is dedicated to training future veterinarians, providing services to animal owners and veterinarians, and conducting research to improve the health of animals as well as people. The college has more than 135 faculty members and enrolls 96 students each fall out of more than 500 who apply. Through its hospital and diagnostic laboratories, the college benefits pets and their owners, food-producing animals, and wildlife, as well as safeguarding public health through disease surveillance. Research conducted at the college improves the health and quality of life for companion animals and improves the productivity and health of poultry and livestock.

See for images of alumni reunion honorees.