The college proudly honored five of its Distinguished Alumni and three Honorary Distinguished Alumni in a ceremony held on October 5.
These exceptional individuals have demonstrated outstanding commitment to the field of veterinary medicine and beyond and have left an indelible mark on the college and the community.
2023 Distinguished Alumni
Patrick Breen, DVM ‘63, DACVD
Patrick T. Breen earned his Doctor of Veterinary Medicine degree from The Ohio State University in 1963, where he achieved membership in the Phi Zeta honor society, setting the stage for a distinguished career in veterinary medicine, dermatology, and allergy. His impact on the field has been far-reaching, encompassing clinical practice, education, entrepreneurship, and collaborative research efforts.
In 1974, Breen became one of the 13 charter Diplomates and founding members of the American College of Veterinary Dermatology, which marked the inception of Specialty Board Certification in veterinary dermatology. His involvement in establishing this organization laid the foundation for the worldwide advancement of the specialty. In that same year, Breen became a consultant at the renowned New York Animal Medical Center. In 1981, he served as the American Academy of Veterinary Dermatology President. These roles allowed him to contribute to the broader veterinary community and gain recognition for his expertise.
Breen's dedication to the profession was recognized by his appointment by the Governor of Ohio to the Ohio Veterinary Medical Board in 1975. His service as President and Treasurer in this capacity demonstrated his commitment to the advancement of veterinary medicine at a regulatory level. In 1982, he received the prestigious American Animal Hospital Association (AAHA) Practitioner Award for Region III, underscoring his excellence in clinical practice.
From 1972 to 1992, Breen served as an instructor and held the position of Assistant Clinical Professor at the University of Cincinnati College of Medicine, working directly with the internationally renowned dermatologist, Leon Goldman, MD, in comparative dermatology and learning the application of the CO2 laser.
Breen became the first dermatologist in the country to own and use a CO2 laser in his clinical practices. He was the contributor of the first inclusion of Lasers in Dermatology in CURRENT VETERINARY THERAPY X by Robert W. Kirk, DVM, in 1988. He also did postgraduate work and served as an Associate in Dermatology at the School of Veterinary Medicine, University of Pennsylvania.
Through his commitment to academia and comparative medical education, he shared his expertise with fellow veterinarians, residents, and students alike, lecturing nationally and internationally, and helping to shape future generations of primary care veterinarians in the practice of veterinary dermatology.
The hallmark of Breen’s career has been in the clinical practice of veterinary medicine and dermatology from his private practice in Cincinnati, OH. where he continues caring for dermatologic and allergic patients across the entire tri-state area. However, Breen also previously established long-term satellite practices in Cleveland and Columbus, OH, Lexington, and Louisville, KY; Indianapolis, IN; Charleston, SC; Savannah, GA; and Jacksonville, FL where there was no veterinary dermatologist available at that time. In addition, he has served as a special consultant in dermatology at several of the largest equine stud farms in Kentucky and The Cincinnati Zoo.
Breen expanded his reach and impact nationwide by establishing DermaPath Consulting Service and Allergy Consulting Service, allowing him to share his expertise and knowledge with primary care practitioners across the United States. These consulting services continue to be instrumental in advancing dermatological care for animals.
Breen’s most notable scientific contribution to veterinary medicine was his clinical recognition and published documentation of the dermatological condition, sebaceous adenitis (SA). SA is generally considered not to exist clinically prior to the publication by RosserE, Dunstan R, BreenP et al: “Sebaceous adenitis with hyperkeratosis in the standard poodle: a discussion of 10 cases.” JAAHA, 1987; 23: p341. Breen is a founding member of the Genodermatosis Research Foundation, Inc.
In 2014, Breen approached Lynette K. Cole, DVM, MS, DACVD, the section head of dermatology at Ohio State’s College of Veterinary Medicine, to discuss how he could give back to his alma mater. Recognizing the need to support the research endeavors of aspiring veterinary dermatologists, he established the Patrick T. Breen Dermatology Residents Research Fund. This fund has provided invaluable resources to support the growth of the dermatology program at the college.
Breen has remained engaged with the college, sharing his expertise and insights with the veterinary dermatology team biannually. Additionally, he continues to support the program through shared consults on veterinary dermatology patients and contributions to the research fund.
A true pioneer in the field of comparative dermatology, Breen has actively participated in One Health initiatives throughout his career. His collaborations with institutions like the University of Cincinnati College of Medicine, Proctor & Gamble, Delmont Laboratories, and membership in The Cincinnati Dermatology Society, exemplify his commitment to interdisciplinary research.
Tim Kolb, DVM ‘82
Tim Kolb, a 1982 graduate of The Ohio State University College of Veterinary Medicine, has made remarkable contributions to the veterinary profession. Over the years, Kolb has demonstrated a deep commitment to animal and human well-being, leaving a lasting impact on the field.
Kolb's career includes owning and operating the highly successful Northwest Animal Hospital for 31 years, where he provided exceptional care to countless animals and built lasting relationships with their owners. In addition to Northwest Animal Hospital, in 2001 Kolb opened a Charter Hospital with Banfield Pet Hospital and continues to practice there. He has also supported his alma mater, serving on various committees and boards within Ohio State’s College of Veterinary Medicine.
He currently serves as Treasurer for the American Association of Veterinary State Boards (AAVSB) and has been an active member of the Ohio Veterinary Medical Licensing Board (OVMLB), where he previously served from 2010 to 2018, twice as President, and returned in 2022 as a director.
Beyond his veterinary practice, Kolb's influence extends to organizations such as the Ohio Veterinary Medical Association (OVMA), where he served on the OVMA Board of Trustees for several terms. Kolb has chaired the Confidential Assistance and Support Committee, then Wellbeing Committee for more than 30 years and has played a pivotal role in promoting mental health awareness and support for veterinary professionals. He is currently the Veterinarian representative to the Ohio Professionals Health Program Board of Directors.
Kolb's tireless efforts in advocating for mental health awareness and his instrumental role in developing a Safe Haven Program for the veterinary community have been invaluable. This program provides a confidential way for veterinarians to seek support for mental health or substance use disorders without fear of losing their license or job, ensuring that all veterinarians and credentialed technicians can access the assistance they need, outside the disciplinary process.
His own personal journey of long-term recovery and his subsequent dedication to helping others in similar situations highlight his exceptional character. He has made significant contributions to the mental health and well-being of veterinary professionals in Ohio and nationally, and his advocacy for mental health has saved lives and encouraged many to prioritize their well-being.
Additionally, Kolb's philanthropic efforts have supported mental health initiatives within Ohio State’s College of Veterinary Medicine, creating nurturing environments that foster the well-being of the entire Ohio State community.
William Saville, DVM, DACVIM, PhD ‘98
William Saville, DVM, DACVIM, PhD, a posthumous recipient of the Distinguished Alumni Award, received his PhD in Veterinary Epidemiology from The Ohio State University College of Veterinary Medicine in 1998. Saville passed away in 2018, leaving behind a remarkable legacy of contributions to the field.
Saville began his career as an equine practitioner in Alberta, Canada, where he specialized in equine medicine and gained a reputation for his dedication to understanding and preventing equine disease. However, he aspired to do more for his patients and pursued advanced specialty training.
In 1993, he embarked on an equine internal medicine residency program at The Ohio State University College of Veterinary Medicine, followed by a PhD program in Veterinary Preventive Medicine. After completing his PhD, Saville accepted a faculty position at Ohio State’s College of Veterinary Medicine as an extension veterinarian in the Department of Veterinary Preventive Medicine, focusing on Veterinary Epidemiology and public health. Throughout his career, he demonstrated a commitment to understanding and preventing equine diseases.
Saville was instrumental in developing an Extension Teaching Program that emphasized the prevention of zoonotic infectious diseases, including West Nile Virus, which was emerging in the US at the time. He also created the West Nile Virus Working Group, fostering collaborations among public health officials and veterinarians.
As a faculty member, Saville maintained an active and well-recognized research program, investigating the life cycle of Sarcocystis neurona and the natural history of infection in multiple animal species. He authored over 50 peer-reviewed scientific publications and received the College's Pfizer Award for Research Excellence in 2005.
In addition to his research, Saville was committed to teaching and advising graduate students, guiding them to successful degree completion. His dedication to education earned him the award for Creativity in Teaching at Ohio State’s College of Veterinary Medicine in 2003.
Saville served two terms as the Chair of the Department of Veterinary Preventive Medicine at Ohio State from 2007 to 2015. He was a diplomate of the American College of Veterinary Internal Medicine and served as the Director of the college’s Alice Lloyd Finley Memorial Veterinary Research Farm from 2004-2014.
His wife, Margo Saville, accepted the Distinguished Alumni Award on his behalf.
Susan Skorupski, DVM ‘83
Susan Skorupski, DVM, was raised on a dairy farm near Maria Stein, Ohio. Her lifelong connection to agriculture and her unwavering commitment to animal health served as the foundation for her illustrious career. Skorupski earned her Bachelor of Science in Agriculture in 1977 and Doctor of Veterinary Medicine degree in 1983 from Ohio State. In 1979, between earning her degrees from Ohio State, Skorupski earned her MS in Animal Science from Cornell University.
Skorupski embarked on her professional journey with a dedication to herd health and disease prevention as a mixed animal practitioner in Northeastern Ohio. Her focus on proactive health measures rather than merely treating sick animals proved vital to the dairy industry in Ohio.
Starting with USDA FSIS in 1986 and then moving to APHIS as a field Veterinary Medical Officer in 1987, Skorupski initially contributed to food safety and quality as part of the USDA Food Safety and Inspection Service (FSIS), specializing in meat inspection across red meat and poultry plants.
As her career continued to evolve, Skorupski assumed roles including Assistant Area Veterinarian in Charge in Indiana and Epidemiology Officer for Ohio and West Virginia. Some of her notable achievements include authoring a comprehensive pictorial atlas of tuberculosis lesions used in slaughter plants and enhancing disease detection and control efforts.
Her dedication to safeguarding animal health reached new heights when she became the Area Veterinary In Charge (AVIC) for USDA APHIS in Ohio. In this pivotal role, Skorupski played a vital part in the success of Ohio's tuberculosis, brucellosis, scrapie and pseudorabies eradication programs. Her unwavering efforts ensured Ohio's disease-free status, facilitating access to domestic and international markets for the state's animal and animal products. Skorupski’s efforts as an epidemiologist and AVIC were more broadly directed at protecting American animal agriculture.
Skorupski's advocacy extended to secure food supply and biosecurity planning, crucial elements in safeguarding agricultural commerce during disease events. As a delegate and liaison to USDA APHIS administration in Washington, D.C., she tirelessly represented the interests of Ohio operations and producers, advocating for their benefit.
Beyond her professional duties, Skorupski displayed a strong commitment to the education and training of future veterinarians. She mentored aspiring veterinary students interested in public practice careers and facilitated valuable opportunities for them to interact with her efforts.
Her contributions greatly impacted public health, where she played a vital role in training Ohio's public health officials to respond to zoonotic disease outbreaks. Her leadership and support led to the development of training programs and educational materials, benefiting professionals throughout Ohio and influencing veterinary and graduate programs at Ohio State.
Skorupski's dedication to animal health and agriculture was recently recognized with the 2022 Career Achievement Award presented by the Ohio Poultry Association.
Dennis Summers, DVM ’06, DACVPM
Dennis Summers, DVM, graduated from The Ohio State University College of Veterinary Medicine in 2006 and earned a Bachelor of Science degree in Agriculture from The Ohio State University in 2001.
Throughout his career, Summers has demonstrated exceptional versatility and leadership. From large animal practice and surgery to public service with the Ohio Department of Agriculture (ODA), he has continually shown dedication to Ohio's animal industries.
Currently, he serves as the Chief of the Division of Animal Health for the ODA, which protects and promotes the health of Ohio’s livestock and poultry industries. In that capacity, he serves as Ohio’s State Veterinarian and oversees all operations for the division. His tireless efforts in regulatory medicine, animal health and disease prevention have made him a prominent figure in Ohio agriculture.
Summers has played a pivotal role in enhancing collaborations between Ohio State’s College of Veterinary Medicine and key stakeholders in Ohio's agricultural management. His contributions include joint training programs in animal disease surveillance and public health, support for swine producers in biosecurity planning and involvement in state committees. Summers has also generously given his time to educate DVM students on regulatory medicine.
Furthermore, Summers has navigated complex challenges, such as the Highly Pathogenic Avian Influenza (HPAI) outbreaks in Ohio in 2022 and 2023, demonstrating leadership and fostering cooperation among various sectors. His commitment to animal welfare extends beyond traditional production animal medicine, as he has actively contributed to developing and enforcing regulations for dangerous wild animals and high-volume dog breeders.
The ability to cultivate working partnerships among diverse stakeholders is evident in Summers’ approach to enforcing livestock care standards and animal cruelty investigations. His dedication to cross-reporting and multi-agency responses has enhanced the health and welfare of Ohio's animals.
In addition to his contributions to Ohio agriculture, Summers also serves as a captain in the United States Army Reserve, where he utilizes his food health and safety expertise to prepare soldiers for deployment. His exemplary service has earned him high honors and commendations within the Army.
2023 Honorary Distinguished Alumni
Duncan Alexander, a resident of Geneva, Illinois, has established himself as a leader in the business community and a dedicated philanthropist with a profound commitment to advancing the causes of veterinary medicine and research. His remarkable journey and selfless contributions to the veterinary community exemplify the spirit of this award.
A Vietnam veteran who served with honor in the United States Army, Alexander earned his degree from Colorado College in 1968. His journey in the realm of veterinary medicine began in 1981 when he assumed the role of President of American Livestock Insurance Company and Harding and Harding. Under his leadership, these companies expanded their operations to all fifty states, Australia and South Africa. This expansion opened the door for him to become deeply involved in medical research and scholarships at veterinary schools.
Alexander's interest in equine medicine ignited a partnership with The Ohio State University College of Veterinary Medicine's Equine Department. He generously supported research into Equine Protozoal Myeloencephalitis (EPM) and Equine Cervical Vertebral Malformation or Wobbler Syndrome. Over the years, his financial support has extended to parasitology research, graduate student research programs and academic programs within the college.
Currently, Alexander's philanthropic endeavors include funding an innovative clinical trial to evaluate probiotics' use to enhance outcomes in bladder cancer for dogs. This research has profound implications for canine health and advancing our understanding of bladder cancer biology and treatment in humans. It is worth noting that bladder cancer is the tenth most diagnosed cancer worldwide.
In the face of the COVID-19 pandemic, Alexander's passion for advancing medical research remained unwavering. He played a pivotal role in supporting research led by Ian Davis, DVM, PhD, associate professor of veterinary biosciences at Ohio State’s College of Veterinary Medicine. This research has contributed to the successful funding of an NIH-funded human clinical trial in patients with COVID-19 through the Wexner Medical Center.
Alexander's extensive experience also includes 30 years of service on the board of directors of Aurora Bearing Company and directorships at Trust Company of Illinois, Gluck Equine Research Foundation at the University of Kentucky, the American Association of Equine Practitioners and the Max McGraw Wildlife Foundation.
His philanthropic engagement with The Ohio State University College of Veterinary Medicine continues to leave an indelible mark in the areas of equine and parasitology research, veterinary preventive medicine, teaching, scholarships and beyond.
Judith Kleen was the Chief Financial Officer (CFO) for Ohio State’s College of Veterinary Medicine from 1989 to 2011. Her impact on the college was profound despite often working behind the scenes and away from the spotlight.
She consistently demonstrated a rare combination of fiscal acumen, programmatic understanding, technological proficiency, and a collaborative spirit throughout her tenure. Her ability to view the institution from a financial perspective and present viable options for crucial decisions across the college's various missions was invaluable.
Kleen's contributions to the college's operations, decision-making processes and long-term planning were nothing short of outstanding. She earned the respect and admiration of her peers as a highly valued team member and a trusted leader. Her expertise extended beyond the College of Veterinary Medicine, as colleagues from other colleges and units across the university sought her guidance and expertise.
During her career, Kleen collaborated with multiple deans at various colleges of veterinary medicine. Their feedback consistently praised her expertise and dedication as major catalysts for the college's numerous successes and accomplishments.
A pivotal moment showcasing Kleen's exceptional abilities was when Glen Hoffsis, DVM, then Dean of Ohio State’s College of Veterinary Medicine and President of the American Association of Veterinary Medical Colleges (AAVMC), uncovered significant financial embezzlement. Recognizing Kleen’s expertise, Hoffsis turned to her for help. She swiftly devised a solution that rescued the AAVMC from financial turmoil, leading to improved financial safeguards and support for member institutions.
Even after her retirement, Kleen continued to contribute to the college. She undertook a complex project to analyze revenue and expenditures, providing valuable insights into the cost of veterinary education at Ohio State. Her work enhanced the college's understanding of budgeting, revenue sources, expenditures, and the costs associated with various mission areas.
William Fenner, DVM, DACVIM
William Fenner, DVM, DACVIM, was exposed to veterinary medicine at a young age through his father's veterinary practice. Fenner earned his veterinary degree from Texas A&M University in 1973 and then pursued further training in neurology at the Animal Medical Center in New York City, becoming a staff neurologist.
In 1977, Fenner joined Ohio State's College of Veterinary Medicine as an Assistant Professor and achieved diplomate status in neurology in 1978. Throughout his tenure, his exceptional teaching abilities earned him the Norden Distinguished Teaching Award in 1982. His patient-centered approach and commitment to educating the next generation of veterinarians have had a lasting impact on numerous students.
Fenner took on the roles of Assistant Dean of Student Affairs and College Secretary in 1991, advocating for students facing academic challenges. Beyond his role as an educator, he dedicated his time to non-profit organizations and served his clients and patients with integrity and compassion.
Transitioning to specialty private practice at MedVet of Columbus in 2002 after nearly 26 years of service at Ohio State, Fenner continued to provide outstanding patient care and mentor residents until 2018. Now retired from practice, Fenner continues to mentor residents through journal club, book club and rounds. His contributions were recognized with a Distinguished Alumnus Award from Texas A&M University’s College of Veterinary Medicine in 2017.
Fenner's career has been marked by unwavering dedication, expertise, and a passion for advancing veterinary neurology, including research contributions in epilepsy treatment and numerous publications.
In addition to his veterinary achievements, Fenner played a crucial role in the American College of Veterinary Internal Medicine (ACVIM), contributing to committees and serving as a professional liaison, helping shape the organization's success.