Dr. Jeff Lakritz named inaugural Tharp Professor

Dr. Jeff LakritzDr. Jeff Lakritz, professor in the Department of Veterinary Clinical Sciences and section head of the Veterinary Medical Center's Hospital for Farm Animals, has been named the inaugural Vernon L. Tharp Professor in Food Animal Medicine.

Dr. Tharp was a 1940 graduate of the College of Veterinary Medicine and was a part of the college family for 46 years. His memory was honored at a reception last week during the formal announcement of the professorship, which was recently approved by The Ohio State University Board of Trustees.

"Dr. Jeff Lakritz is dedicated and passionate about his work in the field of food animal medicine," said Dr. Rustin Moore, acting director of the Ohio State Veterinary Medical Center. "He is a highly engaged and productive faculty member and a leading scholar in his field."

Dr. Lakritz was recruited to Ohio State as an associate professor in 2003 from the University of Missouri. He received his DVM from the University of California-Davis, in 1987, completed a one-year internship in Large Animal Medicine and Surgery at the University of Georgia, followed by a three-year residency in Large Animal Internal Medicine (1990) and a PhD (1996) at the University of California-Davis. He then served as a lecturer at UC-Davis for one year before joining the faculty of the College of Veterinary Medicine at the University of Missouri in 1998. His is a Diplomate in the American College of Veterinary Internal Medicine, Large Animal Internal Medicine, and is currently enrolled in a non-traditional training program of the American College of Veterinary Clinical Pharmacology.

The reception was attended by many members of the late Dr. Vernon Tharp's family, including his six children, and his wife of nearly 60 years, Grace Tharp. She spoke with great humor and fondness of their relationship with the College of Veterinary Medicine. Dr. Lonnie King, dean of the College of Veterinary Medicine also publically thanked Dr. Robert Dunton (DVM, Class of 1955) whose $500,000 gift was critical to the establishment of the Tharp Professorship. In addition, Dr. Jack McGuire (DVM. Class of 1954) provided a generous gift to honor Dr. Tharp, his former teacher, and attended the reception.

"We estimate that Dr. Tharp personally influenced one third of the more than 8,000 graduates from The Ohio State University College of Veterinary Medicine," said Dr. King. "He significantly contributed to improving the health of beef and dairy cattle, and the equine industry at a state, national, and global level for more than 60 years. In the words of today's vernacular – he was a game changer."

Dr. Tharp served as the head of the ambulatory unit from 1942 to 1946, and as director of Veterinary Clinics from 1946 to 1972. He was a professor of Veterinary Medicine from 1955 to 1983, serving as the chair of Medicine from 1960 until the Department of Veterinary Clinical Sciences was formed in 1970.  Dr. Tharp served as the inaugural chair until his retirement in 1983; he also served as an associate dean of the college. He was a liaison between agriculture and veterinary medicine and responsible for the health of the Ohio State dairy and beef herds. In his honor, the street in front of the Veterinary Medical Center is named "Vernon L. Tharp Street." Dr. Tharp served the profession as vice president of the World Veterinary Association, president of the American Association of Bovine Practitioners, the Ohio Veterinary Medical Association, and the American Veterinary Medical Association. He received a Lifetime Achievement Award from the Ohio Animal Health Foundation and was honored with induction in the Ohio Agricultural Hall of Fame. 

"It is a great honor to be named the first Tharp Professor," said Dr. Lakritz. "I appreciate the confidence and responsibility that this position signifies."

The position will provide on-going financial support for research in that will help advance the health, well-being and production of food animals.

At the reception for the Tharp Professorship, from left, Dr. Lonnie King, Mrs. Grace Tharp, Dr. Jeff Lakritz, Dr. Rustin Moore

At the reception for the Tharp Professorship, from left, Dr. Lonnie King, Mrs. Grace Tharp, Dr. Jeff Lakritz, Dr. Rustin Moore

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About the College of Veterinary Medicine at Ohio State

Founded in 1885, The Ohio State University College of Veterinary Medicine is ranked fifth in the nation and includes more than 1,000 faculty, staff and students in the Departments of Veterinary Biosciences, Veterinary Clinical Sciences, and Veterinary Preventive Medicine. The Veterinary Medical Center is one of the largest specialty referral centers in the world, with more than 35,000 farm, equine, and companion animal patients each year. A nationally-recognized ambulatory practice and teaching unit in Marysville, Ohio provides farm animal experience to every veterinary student, and the Food Animal Health Research Program in Wooster, OH focuses on detection, control, and prevention of disease. Located on the only campus in the country with a comprehensive medical center offering seven health sciences colleges, we admit up to 162 veterinary students per class, and offer a new comprehensive graduate program in Veterinary and Comparative Medicine as well as a unique Master’s degree in Veterinary Public Health, in partnership with the College of Public Health. http://vet.osu.edu.