Vital Signs: September 2013

Vol. 2, Issue 2

Dr. Gerhardt Schurig


Dear friends and colleagues,

I am writing this Vital Signs column just a few days away from stepping down as dean. Right now, I am in the final stages of packing up my belongings and moving them to the Center for Molecular Medicine and Infectious Diseases in order to make space for incoming Dean Cyril Clarke. So, after close to 10 years as dean, I am going back to a building and an office I occupied for many years earlier in my career. Not only am I returning to research, but I will also be quite involved in developing approaches for Virginia Tech’s global activities as an international programs strategist. I look forward to these new activities and challenges.

As I was “cleaning up” the dean’s office, I was able to find and look through the yearly reports on college achievements since I became dean. It is amazing how much we accomplished during this time — new programs, new buildings, partnerships, relationships with the veterinary medical associations, and so on. All of these, I believe, have positioned and established the college well at the national scene.

But most importantly, these achievements illustrate great teamwork among our executive board members and faculty and staff in general. For this I have to thank everybody! Teamwork has been the foundation of our advances and success, and I believe the new dean will also adopt this approach to further propel our college among the top ranked veterinary schools in the United States.

I am often asked why I stepped down. This action was cemented in my firm belief that changes in leadership must happen every so often to refresh and evolve an institution’s approach. The time had come for us. On a personal level, each passing year also represents a significant amount of time in one’s life. If you do the same thing year after year, you will eventually run out of time to do the things you wanted to do and achieve later. I did not want this to happen to me. I will continue to contribute to the college in my new role, but will also pursue some yet-unexplored roads which I wish to travel.

Best regards,

Gerhardt G. Schurig, DVM, Ph.D.

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