Vital Signs: December 2015 Vol. 4, Issue 12

A look back at 2015

A message from Dean Cyril Clarke

The Year in Review

Dear friends and colleagues,

As we come to the end of 2015, we take this opportunity to look back on the many accomplishments achieved this year.

A few highlights:

  • The college earned full accreditation by the American Veterinary Medical Association’s Council on Education, the official accrediting body responsible for assuring that veterinary education meets the high standards expected by students, parents, the public, and the profession.
  • The college maintained its position as one of the top-ranked colleges in the nation in the number of applications for admission. We received over 1,200 applicants for 120 positions available in the Class of 2019 — the second largest applicant pool in North America. Over 30 percent of this class are underrepresented racial and ethnic minorities.
  • Students in the Class of 2015 achieved a 99 percent pass rate on the North American Veterinary Licensing Examination (NAVLE), thus maintaining for at least seven consecutive years an excellent standard of performance.
  • After approving a framework for comprehensive revision of the DVM curriculum last year, faculty progressed to the next step involving development of new, integrated courses.
  • The Veterinary Teaching Hospital’s small animal services achieved reaccreditation from the American Animal Hospital Association. The hospital’s Small Animal Community Practice also earned low-stress and cat-friendly practice certifications. Terry Swecker was appointed hospital director, and Ian Herring and Lara Bartl were appointed assistant directors.
  • We relaunched the Marion duPont Scott Equine Medical Center to achieve a more sustainable clinical practice and named Michael Erskine as the new center director.
  • We partnered with the Via College of Osteopathic Medicine to advance collaborative One Health research and upgrade research laboratories at the college’s Center for Molecular Medicine and Infectious Diseases.
  • The Department of Population Health Sciences made progress in expanding One Health initiatives, including planning for a new undergraduate program in public health. Housed within the department, the Center for Public and Corporate Veterinary Medicine is now also responsible for coordinating the college’s international programs.
  • Craig Beyrouty was welcomed as the new dean of the University of Maryland College of Agriculture and Natural Resources, which houses our Department of Veterinary Medicine on the College Park campus.
  • The college held the first Veterinary Medicine Science Camp, a week of tours, lectures, and hands-on experiences for underrepresented students interested in a veterinary career.
  • The college launched a puppy raiser program with Saint Francis Service Dogs, a Roanoke-based nonprofit that trains service dogs for children and adults with disabilities.
  • Bess Pierce, director of the Center for Human Animal Relationships, received the 2015 Bustad Companion Animal Veterinarian of the Year Award, the highest veterinary honor in the nation for work in the human-animal bond.
  • Third-year veterinary student Anna Katogiritis had a rare opportunity to volunteer with the Jane Goodall Institute’s Tchimpounga Chimpanzee Rehabilitation Center in Congo this summer.
  • Parasitologist Anne Zajac’s research on Lyme disease in the New River Valley received considerable local and regional attention. Scholarship published by immunologist Ansar Ahmed on the role of gender in development of autoimmune diseases was selected for special recognition by reputable scientific journals. These were just two of several successful research programs in Blacksburg, Leesburg, and College Park that made significant contributions to biomedical sciences and translational medicine.

Our students, faculty, staff, alumni, donors, and friends across the region have continued to advance the college and its goals in 2015. Our work would not be possible without their time and attention, and we thank them for their support as we look to build on these successes in 2016.

Enjoy the well-deserved break and have a happy holiday and a prosperous New Year!

Dr. Cyril Clarke, Dean


Vital Signs is published throughout the year by the Virginia-Maryland College of Veterinary Medicine.

  • Dean: Dr. Cyril R. Clarke
  • Produced By: Office of Public Relations and Communications
  • Managing Editor: Michael Sutphin
  • Assistant Editor: Kelsey Foster
  • Web Editors: Alison Elward, Jesse Janowiak
Subscribe to Vital Signs!