I hope everyone had a wonderful and rewarding summer. Although the focus of our work shifts a bit during summer, we never stay still at the college. When you read this, fall will be upon us with all it brings related to the launch of a new academic year. Before we get distracted by all of that activity, I wanted to bring you up to date on the latest happenings at the college.
First, however, I want to congratulate our newest DVM alumni, members of the Class of 2017, who tipped their regalia cap tassels to the left at commencement on May 27 and have entered the next exciting phases of their lives as veterinarians. As with each new cohort of Gatorvet alums, we know this group of graduates will certainly make the world a better place, and we wish each of them the very best.
Now for a few highlights from recent months:
Faculty: Our latest preeminence-initiative faculty hire is Dr. Sal Frasca, an aquatic veterinary pathologist who has joined our new department of comparative, diagnostic and population medicine. We are proud to have him on board and know his expertise will complement our existing programs in exciting ways. In addition, we have five new positions, all tenure-track, to substantially expand the portfolio of diagnostic services we offer. In collaboration with the Florida Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services (this growth will be designed to effectively complement those services currently offered by FDACS labs. As we continue on our path to national prominence, our new diagnostic-oriented faculty members will be considered teacher-scholars, who will strengthen the college’s depth by building on the solid research foundation we have established.
Scholarship Funding: Since 2015, the college has raised $16 million in new funding for scholarships in a blend of cash, pledges, and estate gifts. This year, we will be providing more than $800,000 to UF veterinary medical students in scholarship support. In this issue, you’ll find a story that provides more information about the progress we are making with our UF Veterinary Access Scholarship program.
Administration: I’m happy to share the news that we have hired Dr. Juan Samper as our new associate dean for academic and student affairs. We have a story about Dr. Samper’s appointment in this issue, but I can tell you he will be an excellent leader and mentor to our veterinary medical students as well as an excellent addition to our executive leadership team.
In other administrative developments, the college’s newest academic department, the department of comparative, diagnostic and population medicine, became official on July 1. The department formerly known as infectious diseases and pathology is now named infectious diseases and immunology, and we have had various faculty throughout the college change departmental affiliations to better align with their academic programs and interests. The addition of the fifth department should strengthen inter-college collaborations and better position us to pursue growth in key areas, such as diagnostic services and One Health.
Research: We continue to set new records with our research grants and contracts, with our total awards of $23 million this past FY representing a 30 percent increase over the previous year. Dr. Ammon Peck will be stepping down from his position as associate dean of research and graduate studies at the end of December and we will be conducting a search for his replacement. Our research and graduate programs have thrived under Dr. Peck’s leadership and we greatly appreciate his commitment and service to the college.
Education: We continue to move the needle in terms of attracting strong applicants to our D.V.M. program. As news spreads of the exciting programs we offer here at UF and our innovative learning opportunities, we continue to draw interest from a solid pool of applicants with interest in many different aspects of veterinary medicine. This issue features a story about one of our new graduates, Dr. Kelly Hurley, and how scholarship support allowed her to pursue her interest in global veterinary medicine.
Patient Care: Caseload in our small and large animal hospitals continues to increase. As a reflection of this, we are facing a need to expand our facilities once again. Plans are underway for an expansion of the small animal hospital later this year to better accommodate and organize staff offices and free up areas to be allocated for patient care.
Development: Our fundraising efforts are going extremely well as we have set yet another record this year. A total of $34.3 million was generated to support scholarships and various other college programs. This puts us on a great path toward achieving our goals for the upcoming UF capital campaign. Our college campaign will focus on student experience, faculty excellence and One Health, and you’ll be hearing more about our progress in all of these areas in the months to come.
Karen Legato, our longtime executive director of advancement has retired from the college after nearly 18 years of service. We greatly appreciate all of her efforts in cultivating not just dollars and programmatic support through philanthropic gifts, but also in helping to build and maintain positive relationships with many different stakeholders. We wish Karen all the best as she begins this new chapter of her life.
Communications: Our ongoing public relations and marketing efforts received national recognition this spring when Sarah Carey, our director of communications, was selected as the recipient of the Association of American Veterinary Medical Colleges’ 2017 Excellence in Communications Award. Sarah was presented with the award during the Association of Veterinary Advancement Professionals annual conference in Indianapolis in July. She and I were able to provide an overview of what the college has accomplished this past year, specifically tied to our efforts to promote the 40th Anniversary, and how we are making use of targeted marketing efforts, including our new anthem video, to advance the UFCVM’s national reputation. The video, which was very well received at the conference and at our American Veterinary Medical Association alumni reception, can be found on our website at vetmed.ufl.edu.
As always, I appreciate your feedback and support. Please don’t ever hesitate to contact me for more information about what your college of veterinary medicine is doing or with your ideas regarding how we can continue to improve and grow.
Dean James W. Lloyd
James W. Lloyd, D.V.M., Ph.D.
Professor and Dean
Previous messages from the dean can be found here.