Dear Alumni and Friends,
As many of you have likely heard, Dr. Jim Lloyd retired as dean of the college and I have been appointed as interim dean while we search for the next dean … more below on that front. Although many of our alumni may remember me as the faculty member who taught (or tormented) them with their first pharmacology course here at the college from 1989 thru 2016, there are many who don’t know me and, therefore, a brief introduction is in order.
I joined the UFCVM faculty in 1988 as a member of the department of physiological sciences and served previously (2007-2010) as the interim associate dean for students and instruction prior to becoming the college executive associate dean in 2014. I continue in that role while serving as interim dean, so I have a vested interest in helping the dean search move forward to a successful conclusion. However, before I wax eloquently on the college’s recent achievements and provide an update on the dean search process, it is important to acknowledge Dean Lloyd’s contributions to UF and the veterinary profession. Jim’s passion and keen interest in our growth and continued excellence across all of our missions – teaching, research, clinical service, extension and more – as well as his interest in diversity and inclusion, alumni relations and our college culture have helped elevate our national profile and left an indelible mark on UFCVM.
A lot has happened since the previous publication … topping that list of accomplishments was the thrilling news that UFCVM moved into the No. 9 spot in U.S. News & World Report’s rankings of veterinary medical colleges nationwide. Our college jumped five spots — more than any other veterinary college in the past four years — and I can’t overstate what this means to us. Moving into the Top 10 in this prestigious rankings list provides affirmation of our multi-pronged efforts and successful initiatives that have been launched over the past six years.
Other happenings include the continued success and expansion of our student clerkship training partnership with Miami-Dade Animal Services, exciting new research advances — like what you should know about your phone’s touchscreen, opening of the primary care and dentistry clinic plus other spaces and the stories-behind-the-stories of two philanthropic gifts to the UF Small Animal Hospital. We have added great people to the college, including new faculty members, a new UFCVM Executive Director and our newest class of 120 veterinary students will arrive in mid-August. In this issue, our cover story spotlights the new primary care and dentistry addition to the UF Small Animal Hospital and reveals its impact on training practice-ready graduates with the latest skills in veterinary dental care.
So what’s next? Our first next step is to recruit a new permanent dean, a process that was launched in June with the appointment of a 16-member search committee. The committee is co-chaired by Dr. Nick Place, dean and director of UF/IFAS extension, and Dr. Isabel Garcia, dean of the UF College of Dentistry. If all goes as planned, we should be ready for on-campus interviews with finalists as soon as October. We are truly excited for what the future holds and we hope you share our excitement.
We appreciate everyone’s support as we work through this transitional time between permanent deans, but please know I’m here to listen and help keep this wonderful college on our upward trajectory.
Thomas W. Vickroy
Interim Dean, Executive Associate Dean and Professor