September 19, 2011

Dear Faculty, Staff, and Students:

College Updates

The past two weeks have been exciting in the college. We celebrated the hard work of all of our staff at the aptly named "Kudos" luncheon. Despite the rain, we had a great turnout for recognition of the outstanding staff at the college. Our staff are invaluable to the success of our College and their outstanding work every day truly is the foundation of our excellence. I want to especially congratulate Chris Frasure, Lorie Kipp, and Ken Matthias, our Distinguished Staff Award winners. Chris Frasure is an Instructional Laboratory Supervisor and Laboratory Instructor. He has been with the Department of Veterinary Biosciences for 13 years. Lorie Kipp is a receptionist in the Hospital for Farm Animals and has been with the Veterinary Medical Center for more than 20 years. Ken Matthias is the Instructional Development Specialist in the Department of Biomedical Media and Instructional Technology and has been with the College of Veterinary Medicine for over 10 years.

We also recognized 49 students who participated in our Summer Research Program at the concluding event on September 8. This record-setting number of participants demonstrates both a well-run program, as well as the importance of offering students the opportunity to experience the world of research first hand. The posters from each project remained on display throughout Alumni Reunion Weekend, as well as through orientation of the incoming class of 2015. Our alumni seemed impressed by the variety of projects; and I thought it was great that our incoming students got to get a flavor for the opportunities available to them. I want to express my sincere thanks to Michele Morscher for coordinating the program, as well as Dr. Michael Lairmore for his support and tireless efforts to raise funds to support our students in the program.

Alumni and Fundraising

Abigail and Les Wexner visited the college a week ago as a guest of our Capital Campaign co-chair Barbara Trueman. In addition to owning The Limited Brands and serving Ohio State as the chair of the Board of Trustees, Les Wexner and his wife are also friends of the college (Wexner Auditorium) and the university (Wexner Center for the Arts). They took a tour of the Veterinary Medical Center and were impressed with what they saw. Thanks to Karin Zuckerman, director, and Dr. Rustin Moore, associate dean for Clinical and Outreach Services, and everyone in the VMC for their participation in making our friends feel welcome!

Alumni Reunion Weekend was held last weekend. "Thank you" to all of our clinical faculty who offered Continuing Education sessions for our returning alumni, and Dr. Kent Hoblet, alumnus and current dean of the College of Veterinary Medicine at Mississippi State University, who gave an inspiring keynote address. The annual alumni class reunions, dinner, awards, and auction were held at the Hilton Easton, a great facility. We announced two teaching awards: the John Lyman Jr. Award for Clinical Teaching Excellence was presented to Dr. Brian Scansen, and the Fox Family Teaching Excellence Award in honor of Dr. Charles Fox went to Dr. Carlos Pinto. Several alumni were recognized, as well. Dr. John Spiker received a Special President’s Award for his service as auctioneer for the live auction at each reunion weekend. Four alumni received Alumni Recognition Awards: Anna M. van Heeckeren, MS, DVM; Donald L. Reynolds, DVM, PhD; Gary L. Riggs, DVM; and Dawn E. Morin, DVM, MS. You can read their biographical information on our web site.

On Saturday, the college hosted our Alumni Society Board Meeting at which they gave more than $24,000 to support a variety of college projects. We are grateful to our Alumni Society for their continued support of our programs, and especially their emphasis on projects that aid teaching and learning for our students.

Following the board meeting, I offered a "State of the College" address, a tradition for the past five years for alumni reunion weekend. Our alumni are genuinely interested in what is happening at their alma mater, and we are proud to host their return each year, and provide them with a brief overview of activities, including new programs and challenges. They also were delighted with the restored painting of Ugolin, the Percheron horse, which now hangs over the fireplace in the Hummel Grand Lounge in the VMAB. It is truly a piece of College and University history.

International Partnerships

Last week the inaugural International Congress on Pathogens at the Human-Animal Interface was held at the UN Conference Center in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia. The President of Ethiopia hosted a reception for attendees at his palace, and personally thanked participants. Several Ohio State faculty offered keynote or plenary talks, including Dr. Linda Saif, Distinguished University Professor, Food Animal Health Research Program; Dr. Larry Schlesinger, Samuel Saslaw Professor of Medicine; William Brustein, vice provost for Global Strategies and  International Affairs; and me. We also had a group of MPH and CVM students attending. The Congress was attended by almost 400 participants from 34 countries and was a great success. Dr. Wondwossen Gebreyes, associate professor in the Department of Veterinary Preventive Medicine, deserves recognition for all of his efforts in planning and organizing this Congress. We also visited with officials from Gondar University, Addis Ababa University, and the International Livestock Research Institute and discussed future collaborative programs.

Upcoming Events

Today, we welcomed more than 6,900 incoming freshmen and transfer students to The Ohio State University at the Convocation Ceremony held at St. John arena. They were introduced to Carmen Ohio, the appropriate response to O-H! and many more traditions of this great University. We are proud to participate in these activities.

We welcomed our own incoming first year class at orientation last week. In addition to "team building" exercises and the standard photo-taking and ID acquisition, students were offered a special convocation of their own. Classes begin on Wednesday, September 21, and I hope to see you at the "welcome back picnic" from 3-4:30 on the lawn in front of VMAB – or if it's raining, in the Hummel Grand Lounge. Be sure to check out our home page for a picture of our incoming class, and a summary of their accomplishments.

Lonnie J. King