Ohio State mourns the loss of Dr. Murdick

Dr. Philip (Phil) W. Murdick, emeritus professor in the Department of Veterinary Clinical Sciences, died on Saturday August 24th at the age of 84. Dr. Murdick received his undergraduate degree and his DVM (1952), MS (1958) and PhD (1964) all from The Ohio State University. He joined the faculty in the College of Veterinary Medicine in 1956, progressing through the faculty ranks and becoming a professor in 1969. He was a founding faculty member of the Department of Veterinary Clinical Sciences (VCS), and starting in 1972 served as the department’s second chair for nine years after our founding chair, Dr. Vernon L. Tharp. He became the associate dean for Curriculum and Education in 1988. Dr. Murdick was an early specialist in veterinary reproduction and obstetrics, and his research focus was endocrine physiology of reproduction in livestock.

We were fortunate and blessed to have Dr. Murdick and his wife Betty -along with several other emeritus faculty members - attend our 40th anniversary celebration of the founding of the Department of Veterinary Clinical Sciences in May 2010, a Louisiana-style “Cajun Buckeye Crawfish and Shrimp Boil.”

 Cajun Buckeye Crawfish and Shrimp Boil

[From left to right, Mrs. Joann Donham, Dr. Jim Donham (emeritus), Dr. Sharron Capen (emeritus), Dr. Philip Murdick, and Mrs. Betty Murdick].

Dr. Murdick was a major contributing member of the faculty leadership group that established the Department of Veterinary Clinical Sciences (VCS) and designed and built the existing Ohio State Veterinary Teaching Hospital, now Veterinary Medical Center (VMC) in the early 1970’s.

As chair of VCS, Dr. Murdick chartered a course for the department and college that would focus on the student learning experience as the most important mission, leading to a student-centric culture that persists in the department and college to this day. Dr. Murdick was also a key leader in early 1970's curricular reform in the college that led to the establishment of an innovative team-taught systems-based core pre-clinical veterinary curriculum. This remains a core component of our pre-clinical and clinical curricula that helps prepare our graduates for successful careers.

He systematically expanded the VCS by recruiting the first residency-trained board-certified specialists in several clinical specialty areas to join the faculty to help develop a premier clinical education program combined with a referral teaching hospital and a world class residency training program. As Department Chair in the 1970’s, he presided over the establishment of a world class residency training program with the acceptance of the first trainees into newly created residency programs in surgery, internal medicine, ophthalmology, radiology, and anesthesiology. This helped to lay the foundation for veterinary specialization.

Dr. Murdick was also the first in our college to recognize the importance of high quality visual media in teaching, research, and publication. He established the first and most comprehensive veterinary biomedical media program in the nation staffed with professional artists, medical photographers, and videographers and housed this support in a fully designed multimedia studio facility.

He was an early adopter of the use of computers and was the first in the college to envision the potential for digital technology in our veterinary education. He led the integration of digital technology into the college, including implementation of computerized class scheduling, computer-graded examinations, and computer-analyzed student evaluations of teaching.

He devised ways to accumulate and analyze data well before the university had any sort of information technology support for faculty or colleges. For example, he wrote a massive program for quantitative urinalysis calculations that assisted small animal internal medicine faculty in their research. The college was among the first, if not the very first, to have such an advanced word processing system on the entire campus.

After retirement, Dr. Murdick remained in Central Ohio and took an active role in building houses with the Habitat for Humanity program.

Although a sad occasion upon his passing, please join me in celebrating Dr. Phillip Murdick’s rich life and meaningful career.

Please visit http://www.legacy.com/obituaries/thisweeknews/obituary.aspx?n=philip-w-murdick&pid=166672709&fhid=8704#fbLoggedOut for the obituary. There will be a memorial service at the Ohio State University Golf Course on Thursday September 5th from 3:00-6:00 pm.

Thanks to Dr. Rustin Moore, associate dean for Clinical and Outreach Programs and chair, Department of Veterinary Clinical Sciences (VCS) and Dr. Bob Sherding, emeritus professor and former chair of VCS, for preparing this tribute to Dr. Murdick.