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In Memoriam: Milton Wyman, DVM, MS, Diplomate ACVO

Tuesday, September 28

From Dean Rustin Moore:

It’s with great sadness that I share the news of the passing of Milton Wyman, DVM '63, MS '64, Diplomate ACVO and emeritus professor in the Department of Veterinary Clinical Sciences. We extend our deepest sympathy to his family and loved ones. 

Dr. Wyman was a pioneer in veterinary ophthalmology respected by his peers and the many students he taught and mentored. A 1963 graduate of the College of Veterinary Medicine, Dr. Wyman spent the majority of his career at Ohio State, holding various clinical, teaching and leadership positions, including Associate Dean for Student Affairs, until his retirement in 1989. He went on to teach veterinary ophthalmology at the University of Pennsylvania School of Veterinary Medicine for three and a half years and practiced at MedVet Columbus for several more years. 

Dr. Wyman began his training when ophthalmology was just emerging as a potential specialty for veterinarians. He trained as an ophthalmologist at Ohio State’s Medical Center under Dr. William Havener, the first full-time ophthalmologist at Ohio State’s Medical Center and the namesake of Ohio State’s Havener Eye Institute. Dr. Wyman also trained at the Armed Forces Institute of Ophthalmic Pathology. 

As a fourth-year student, he taught a non-credit workshop on how to examine the eye and use different diagnostic tools. After graduation, the course was added to the curriculum and Dr. Wyman continued to teach Veterinary Ophthalmology for more than 29 years. Dr. Wyman was also instrumental in creating one of the finest, and most competitive, ophthalmology residency programs in the world. 

Dr. Wyman was a founding member of the Department of Clinical Sciences and a Charter Diplomate and founding member of the ACVO in 1970. In 1981, he was named Veterinarian of the Year by the American Animal Hospital Association and was honored as a College of Veterinary Medicine Distinguished Alumni in 1992. Other honors include the Mark Morris Fellowship in Ophthalmology, the University Teaching Award, and both the OVMA and AVMA Veterinarian of the Year awards. He served on the AVMA Council on Education and was a past President of the OVMA. 

Dr. Wyman’s accomplishments earned him a respected place in veterinary medicine, but his true legacy will be carried on by the countless veterinary professionals he influenced during his long and productive career, including me. Those individuals he influenced through their education and advanced training subsequently provided training and mentorship to others, and through this “multiplier effect” he has directly or indirectly had an incredible and indelible impact on the veterinary profession, veterinary academia and veterinary ophthalmology. 

I had the privilege to know Dr. Wyman from the beginning of my veterinary career—he interviewed me as a prospective student in 1985 and continued to be a mentor, advisor and friend. With his help, I secured my first summer experience in equine medicine, setting me on my career path in equine medicine and surgery. It is those “little things” where Dr. Wyman positively influenced and guided so many veterinary students and veterinarians over the years. During my time as department chair and dean, Dr. Wyman provided such positivity and inspiration, and I greatly appreciated his passion, loyalty and support. 

Many others also reached out to me to share their own memories. 

John A. E. Hubbell, DVM ’77, MS ’81, DACVA, professor emeritus, Department of Veterinary Clinical Sciences, remembered his kindness and support. “Milt Wyman practiced “One Medicine” many years before others coined the term. The word “Pioneer” is overused in veterinary medicine, but it is most appropriately applied to Milt and others like him who took what he learned from our ophthalmology colleagues in the College of Medicine and developed the foundation of the practice of veterinary ophthalmology. Milt served as the Dean of Students and Academics at our College during a time of much turmoil and change. His presence and demeanor allowed our faculty and students to develop new understandings of personal and educational issues that allowed us to remain at the forefront of veterinary education. Mostly, I remember him for his kindness and his unwavering support of the students, faculty, staff and administrators of his beloved College of Veterinary Medicine.” 

Robert G. Sherding, DVM ‘73, DACVIM, professor emeritus, Department of Veterinary Clinical Sciences. “I am immensely grateful for Milt Wyman’s mentorship over the decades. As an OSU veterinary student in the early 1970’s, I was inspired by Milt to pursue specialty training in internal medicine. Then when I was an early-career faculty member in OSU-CVM Small Animal Medicine, Milt was always there to support and mentor me and the next generation of his faculty colleagues; such as Dennis Chew, John Bonagura, Bill Fenner, Steve DiBartola, Sue Johnson, and Catherine Kohn. 

Much more than just a professional colleague, Milt Wyman was a dear friend to me, and all of his OSU faculty colleagues over the years. I deeply cherish the memories of our time together on the OSU-CVM faculty. Milt made faculty life seem like a family away-from-home. During Holiday Season, I fondly recall coming to Milt’s corner office for my serving of the famous Wyman Holiday Nog. I also recall the amazing Wyman “Shrimperoo” cookouts. These were highlights of my early faculty career. For many years Milt provided great entertainment and dedicated service in his role as the one-of-a-kind Master of Ceremonies for the annual OSU-CVM Alumni Auctions. Milt Wyman is a legend in the field of veterinary ophthalmology who has inspired generations of veterinarians to pursue this specialty, and thankfully his legacy will live on in perpetuity through the OSU-CVM Wyman Ophthalmology Residency Endowment.” 

Glen Hoffsis, DVM ‘66, MS ‘69, DACVIM, former dean of the college and professor emeritus, Department of Veterinary Clinical Sciences, reflected on the impact Dr. Wyman had on his own career. “Milt Wyman was a giant of Ohio State and of the veterinary profession. He was inspirational and passionate about everything he did; teacher, researcher, speaker, leader, advocate, friend. He was instrumental in my education and as an advisor. I will miss him greatly.” 

David Wilkie, DVM, MS ‘89, DACVO, emeritus professor, Department of Veterinary Clinical Sciences, said “Speaking about Dr. Milton Wyman and Veterinary Ophthalmology at The Ohio State University is a lot like speaking about Woody Hayes and Ohio State Football. They are synonymous. Without Dr. Wyman, there would be no Veterinary Ophthalmology at OSU.” I cannot think of more fitting words to describe Dr. Wyman, his achievements and his legacy. I, along with many others, was fortunate to have Dr. Wyman as my mentor during my residency. During my residency, despite having moved out of the clinic and into the position of Associate Dean for Student Affairs, Dr Wyman’s enthusiasm for the discipline of ophthalmology never waned. His students still remind me of how he never lectured from the front of the auditorium but would walk up and down the aisles gesticulating. Past graduates also recall, Dr. Wyman was never without a penlight in his pocket, always stopping to look at the eyes as the support structures, what the rest of you call the patient, brought the eyes past him. As a resident, I recall early morning book club spent together in his office during which we inevitably fell behind in our readings as Dr. Wyman got side-tracked with one or more historical lessons in veterinary ophthalmology. 

I also recall during my residency almost weekly eager visits to his office to tell him about some unique and amazing ophthalmology case I had seen in the clinic that day. Dr. Wyman would patiently listen, nod and then smiling say ‘ahh I have seen at least a hundred of those’ and he was telling the truth. To this day in rounds with our current residents, we all still have Wyman-ism’s. If a resident, heaven forbid, says we flushed the nasolacrimal duct, in unison, Dr. Metzler and I would say, ‘you flush a toilet, you irrigate a nasolacrimal duct’. Dr. Wyman may have left us, but his voice lives on. For all of us as teachers, we wish to leave a legacy and be remembered for making a difference. If you were to ask Dr. Wyman how he views this, I know he would tell you his legacy is the effect he has had on the lives of countless young veterinary students and ophthalmology residents. I can attest to his energy and enthusiasm for teaching and for veterinary ophthalmology, and it never waned.” 

Anne Metzler, DVM ‘95, MS ‘00, DACVO, section head of Comparative Ophthalmology at the Ohio State Veterinary Medical Center, is grateful to have known Dr. Wyman for most of her career. “I am endlessly grateful for Dr. Wyman’s brilliant and inspiring mentorship that began in my senior year of vet school and continued throughout my residency and early years as a faculty member. I’ve never met a more knowledgeable and enthusiastic ophthalmologist, but his impact on my life and career goes much deeper than academics. He exhibited kindness, compassion and integrity with every person and patient he encountered. I think of him all the time when I greet one of my patients and hear his voice saying gently, ‘Come here little person’ and when a dog loves when I rub its ears I hear him say in his ‘doggie’ voice, ‘I’ll give you about an hour to stop that.’ His legacy lives on in so many of us and in so many ways. His loss is enormous because in his life, he gave so much and meant so much to so many. Thank you for making me a better ophthalmologist and a better person and rest in peace dear Dr. Wyman.” 

Terah Webb, DVM '02, DACVO, felt privileged to be one of the last residents to train with Dr. Wyman before his retirement. “When chosen as Dr. Wyman's "last resident", I knew I was blessed to have the opportunity to learn Ophthalmology from the best in the world. What I didn't know I would learn was the most important lesson in and out of the clinic - how to treat every animal and human alike with compassion and empathy. Dr. Wyman unconditionally advanced the veterinary profession and careers of others his entire life. The quote that resonates with me is "There's no limit to what you can accomplish if you don't worry about who gets the credit". We all owe so much of our lives to his endless teachings, caring, and love.” 

Dineli Bras, DVM, MS ‘04, DACVO, a veterinary ophthalmologist now practicing in Puerto Rico, remembers the kindness Dr. Wyman offered both to her and her family. “I have been blessed to have had Dr. Wyman as my mentor and friend. His passion, knowledge, and contributions to our profession are difficult to surpass and his legacy will live with us forever. I am not only privileged to say he influenced me as a professional, but to say that he welcomed me and my family into his family. He is not only the Grandfather of Veterinary Ophthalmology, but my kids grandfather, and for that I will be forever grateful. I will never forget how he participated in my kid's school activities as their grandfather that read books to their class, and of course he brought pen-lights to all! That is the kind of man he was, always sharing his knowledge and love. He was the greatest at everything he did and taught us all a life lesson. He touched many lives and will always be an inspiration for all of us. His memories are my blessings and I will miss him very much. Today he becomes our Guardian Angel. Rest in Peace.”

Tammy Miller Michau, DVM ‘99, MS, MSpVM, DACVO, Vice President Medical Affairs Operations, Mars Veterinary Health. “Dr. Milt Wyman has had an immeasurable impact on my life. There is a good chance I would not even be a veterinarian, let alone an ophthalmologist if he hadn’t been there, helping and guiding me along. As a young adult, having just lost both my parents and coming off my second rejection from veterinary school, I started working as his sole dedicated technician at MedVet. He became my teacher, mentor, and father figure and began having impromptu “slide rounds” with me weeks into the role. He couldn’t help himself, teacher’s teach. I will always remember the very first slide he pulled out of his pocket, standing in the hallway, and asked me what the "most likely clinical diagnosis was". I got it right only because he had already been teaching me all along without me even realizing what he was doing. Before work, it also just became natural to “pop into” ophthalmology journal club at OSU. When he started handing his own printed copies of the journal articles to me to read in prep, I knew I had better step up my game. Fear of somehow disappointing him became a driving force. Slowly but surely he turned me into a lifelong ophthalmologist before I was even accepted into vet school. I know he is likely one of the main reasons I was finally accepted and so I owe him my life. His love for ophthalmology was inspiring and infectious and he introduced me to a profession and passion that I have thanked him for every day and can never thank him enough. I am privileged to have known him. He was a truly outstanding caring human being who will be deeply missed by this ophthalmology student, and I know that I am one of hundreds, if not thousands. I hope that his memory will be a blessing to his family and all his friends and students as it will be to me.” 

Eric J. Miller, DVM, MS ‘14, DACVO, assistant professor-clinical in comparative ophthalmology at The Ohio State University Veterinary Medical Center, was the first resident to receive support from the Dr. Milton Wyman Residency Fund in Veterinary Ophthalmology, is grateful he was able to know Dr. Wyman. “When you look around and talk to others it is very clear the impact that Dr. Wyman had on veterinary ophthalmology, the college of veterinary medicine, and the many individuals lucky enough to share a relationship with him. I am forever grateful that I got to be one of those individuals. I will continue to do my best to share his legacy with students, interns, residents, and really any listening ear because he is so deserving of every complement he could receive and those who come later should all know of this great man. Today is a is a tough day because we lost a genuinely special individual.” 

Details about the arrangements to honor Dr. Milton Wyman’s life and read his obituary are listed here. You can learn more about the Dr. Milton Wyman Residency Fund in Veterinary Ophthalmology and it’s legacy honoring Dr. Wyman and/or support the Dr. Milton Wyman Residency:  

Please join me and The Ohio State University College of Veterinary Medicine family and veterinary community in extending our thoughts and prayers to the Wyman family and thank them for sharing him and his expertise with the college, the veterinary profession, and beyond for so many years. Dr. Milt Wyman will never be forgotten for his many contributions and the impact on his alma mater, veterinary ophthalmology and the veterinary profession. 

Last updated: 

Wednesday, September 29, 2021 - 3:37pm