UGA’s College of Veterinary Medicine honors distinguished faculty, staff, alumni and students

UGA’s College of Veterinary Medicine honors distinguished faculty, staff, alumni and students at recent events

Athens, Ga. – The College of Veterinary Medicine at the University of Georgia awarded honors for excellence in teaching, research and service through several events held recently, including the Annual Veterinary Conference and Alumni Reunion, the Honors and Awards Celebration for students and faculty and Staff Appreciation Day.

“We are very fortunate to have such dedicated professionals working at the College of Veterinary Medicine,” said Dean Sheila W. Allen. “The students’ exposure to ground-breaking research and clinical practice methods by the most respected and world-renowned scholars prepares them to become leaders in the field of veterinary medicine and public health. Likewise, it is through the hard work and dedication of our staff that the college remains a leader in veterinary education. Their support is a vital component to the work that is conducted here.”

At the 44th Annual Veterinary Conference and Alumni Reunion held on March 31, Francis W. Chandler Jr., H. Steve Conboy and Beverly J. Purswell received distinguished alumnus awards. M. Kevin Keel received the Young Achiever Award.

Chandler (D.V.M. ’67) has led a notable career including major contributions in the discovery and cause of Legionnaire’s Disease, the pathology and pathogenesis of HIV infection and AIDS, active research of Lyme disease and the causes of human prostate cancer.

Conboy (D.V.M. ’70) is considered a “triple threat” by academic veterinarians. Committed to teaching, research and service while maintaining a full-time veterinary practice, Conboy’s tireless dedication to teaching young veterinarians how to conduct practice and invest themselves in their community was the model by which the American Association of Equine Practitioners Avenues Internship Program was created.

Purswell (D.V.M. ’77) has a long and remarkable record of achievement and service to the veterinary community as a professor of theriogenology at the Virginia-Maryland Regional College of Veterinary Medicine. While maintaining a rigorous research schedule, she has devoted most of her energy and expertise to leadership positions within organized veterinary medicine and contributes significantly to the teaching and administration of the college.

As a wildlife pathologist, Keel (D.V.M. ’97) supervises the diagnostic service provided by the University of Georgia Southeastern Cooperative Wildlife Disease Study to 17 member states and instructs graduate and veterinary students. He is heavily involved in training activities for state and federal wildlife agencies and the U.S.D.A. Through a recent $500,000 grant, he develops training videos, handbooks and national workshops for wildlife field personnel.

At the Honors and Awards Celebration held on April 20, S. Mark Tompkins, Liliana Jaso-Friedmann, Julie L. Webb and Wan-I Oliver Li were honored with faculty awards. Tompkins, an assistant professor in the department of infectious diseases, received the John M. Bowen Award for Excellence in Animal Research for his research on human and avian influenza strains. Jaso-Friedmann, an associate professor and graduate coordinator in the department of infectious diseases, received the Pfizer Animal Health Award for Research Excellence for her research in immune system response and disease prevention. Webb, a clinical pathology resident, received the Morrow B. Thompson Award for her work in the department of pathology. Li, an associate professor in the department of physiology and pharmacology who studies reproductive physiology and angiogenesis, was awarded the Norden Distinguished Teacher Award on the basis of his character, leadership and teaching ability by his students.

Also recognized at the Honors and Awards Celebration were students Courtenay Ratterree (D.V.M. ’07) who received the Veterinarian-of-the-Year Award; Rachel Burns (D.V.M. ’07) who received the Faculty Scholastic Plaque and Clifford E. Westerfield Award; and Wesley Blount (D.V.M. ’07) who received the Dean Emeritus Thomas J. Jones Cup.

At the 2007 Staff Appreciation Luncheon held on May 10, Natalie Norton, a research professional in large animal medicine, was honored with the Non-clinical Staff Appreciation Award; and Anita Merrill, the chief medical technician in clinical pathology at the Tifton Diagnostic Laboratory, was honored with the Clinical Staff Appreciation Award. Both recipients were given a plaque and $500 for their dedicated service and leadership in the College of Veterinary Medicine.

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. For more information, visit www.vet.uga.edu .