July 11, 2011

Dear Faculty, Staff, and Students:

College Administration Updates

As many of you know, Judy Kleen, senior fiscal officer for the College of Veterinary Medicine, will be retiring on August 31 after 23 years in the college, and 26 years with Ohio State. With thanks to our search committee, we are pleased to welcome Mr. Renne Komula, MBA, CPA, to the position of chief administrative officer. Renne (pronounced like penny) has a BS in accounting from Ohio State, and an MBA from Regis University in Denver, Colorado. He joins us from the office of Facilities Operations and Development where he has served as senior director, business management since 2006. He has worked at Ohio State since 1992. In order to assure a smooth transition, he will begin his duties on July 12. Please join me in welcoming him!

We also welcome Mr. Rick Peters, fiscal officer. Rick is especially focused on procurement and replaced Curt Ashley, who left to go work on his family’s farm. Rick joined us in early July from the Office of Academic Affairs, where he served as compliance coordinator. He holds a bachelor's degree in finance from Kent State University, and has completed accounting coursework in the Fisher College of Business at Ohio State. (He is the proud father of two children and also owns a Cavalier King Charles spaniel.)

College Updates

It's that time of year when we are finishing up annual reviews and performance assessments. In addition, we are preparing our next strategic plan for the university. Thanks to Dr. Steve DiBartola for leading this effort and for all of you in the college who participated in forums and online surveys to give us your insights, ideas, and important input. The plan will be completed by the August 1 deadline.

Campus Updates and Partnerships

A partnership between the college and the Cincinnati Zoo's Center for Conservation and Research of Endangered Wildlife (CREW), has been expanded through a new summer scholarship provided by P&G Pet Care. The program will provide salary, research, and travel support to two veterinary students each year to conduct wildlife research studies with mentoring by Ohio State and CREW scientists. The first two P&G Wildlife Conservation Scholars selected for 2011 are Emily Marshall, a first year veterinary student, and Melissa Nau, a second year veterinary student. Emily will be mentored by Drs. Tony Buffington of Ohio State and Bill Swanson of CREW. Melissa will be mentored by Drs. Carlos Pinto at Ohio State and Monica Stoops at CREW. We are very appreciative of P & G Pet Care's support of this project and our summer research program.

State and National Issues

We continue to carefully watch the situation with the Ohio Horse Industry. Horse racing was an important source of revenue for equine research at our college, and the trend toward building casinos in nearby states put pressure on the attendance for horse racing, reduced purses at the tracks, and sent the breeding and racing components to other states. One consideration to increase attendance at race tracks is that of adding slot machines. Governor Kasich seems open to considering this possibility. It may seem somewhat ludicrous to have research money tied to gambling, but it has been a tradition in Ohio and a source of major equine funds in states like New York, California, and Pennsylvania. Thus we will add our support to the industry in order to attempt to receive key equine research money that used to be a consistent source of funds for our equine research programs.

I had the opportunity last week to attend the Institute of Medicine forum on Microbial Threats. Concern about bioterrorism and potential infectious disease epidemics has spurred interest in developing ways to detect biological threats as quickly as possible. The Department of Homeland Security’s Bio Watch program has air samplers deployed in more than 30 major U.S. cities designed to detect the presence of certain biological agents, to help local officials respond swiftly to potential threats. Disease surveillance is enhanced through use of public health and health care systems. Coupled with the efforts to detect threats, microbial forensics is an emerging field devoted to ability to characterize and compare microbial samples to determine the origin of the agent to support investigations of criminal acts. Scientific breakthroughs and promise is extraordinary in this arena. It is good for the College of Veterinary Medicine to serve on external committees and study groups. Our experts add to the science and we often learn much, and bring new ideas back to the college and Ohio State campus.

Alumni and Fundraising

On June 27, we welcomed 144 golfers to the Ohio State Scarlet course for the annual Alumni Golf Outing, sponsored by the Veterinary Medicine Alumni Society, the OVMA and the college. It was a great day, and proceeds support the Alumni Society student scholarship fund. The Scarlet Course is the championship course – it is long, difficult and challenging. My game continues to suffer, and I appreciated my partners: Dr. Michelle Harcha, Andy Plum from Bayer, and second year veterinary student Kris Lewis, who carried the day. Our alumni appreciate and enjoy the Golf Outing, and we thank our Veterinary Medicine Alumni Society's generous support of this event and our students.

Future Events

Many of us are preparing to attend the AVMA convention in St. Louis, Missouri starting at the end of this week. If you will be there, I hope you will join us for the Alumni Reception on Monday, July 18 at the Hyatt Regency St. Louis at the Arch, Regency C Room, 315 Chestnut Street, (63102) from 7 to 9 p.m.

We are also preparing for the second annual Focus-Forward Weekend July 21-23. This year, the discussion will center on "The Financial Future of Veterinary Medicine." Questions about this event should be directed to Katie Kostyo. 

Dean Lonnie King