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May 23, 2011

  • Commencement is a special time, and this year was no exception as we saw 123 new veterinarians take their oath after walking across the stage at Rudder Auditorium on May 12. Dr. Sharon Kerwin and Dr. Timothy Cudd were selected by the graduating class to assist with hooding and presenting diplomas this year. In addition to representatives from our CVM administrative team, we were joined by Chancellor Michael McKinney, Provost Karan Watson, and Regent James Schwertner. Also on stage were Dr. Pamela Matthews, Associate Provost for Undergraduate Studies, Dr. Ben Wu, Associate Dean of Faculties and Director of the Center for Teaching Excellence, and Dr. Christine Stanley, Vice President and Associate Provost for Diversity. Student Regent Cresencio Davila and Executive Director of the Association of Former Students Porter Garner participated in our commencement exercises. The Veterinarian's Oath was administered by TVMA President Dr. John Morton. Dr. Roger Feldman called the names of our graduates for the 42nd time. Our commencement speaker was veterinarian, cowboy, poet, and humorist, Dr. Baxter Black who not only offered advice to our graduates, but entertained the audience as well. Special thanks go to Kenita Rogers, Les Fiechtner, and the rest of the team who organized every detail of the day, making this event memorable for our graduates, their families, and our college. Thanks also to faculty and staff who attended in support of our graduates.
  • On Friday, May 13, we held the CVM Development Council Meeting. The Development Council, chaired by Dennis and Jacqui Johnston, is actively engaged in helping us with monetary gifts. They will use the development materials we are producing to help disseminate our message. Thanks to Bubba, Guy, and Noell for their dedication and successes in attracting supporters.
  • We have received final approval from President Bowen Loftin to initiate a $40M development campaign for the Equine Initiative. This campaign includes facilities, as well as endowments for faculty positions, graduate students, research, and operations.
  • On Saturday, May 14, our Biomedical Sciences program graduated 206 students made up of 189 undergraduates, 14 masters graduates, and three doctoral students. Convocation for the BIMS graduation program was on Thursday, May 12 and featured former Secretary of State James A. Baker, III as the speaker. Our BIMS students continue the strong tradition of excellence with 23 students inducted into the Phi Kappa Phi honor society this year, and 10 students inducted into Phi Beta Kappa. Eight students graduated with a 4.0 GPA and will receive a gold Texas A&M University watch.
  • At this year's BIMS commencement exercise we honored Dr. Anton Hoffman as Texas A&M Presidential Professor for Teaching Excellence. Dr. Hoffman was recognized on stage at commencement and was awarded a substantial monetary award for his efforts. Dr. Hoffman was lauded for the enthusiasm and passion he brings to the classroom. Congratulations to Dr. Hoffman for receiving this prestigious campus-wide award.
  • The CVM continues to take a leadership role in our university with the announcement that Dr. John Stallone has been named Speaker-elect of the Faculty Senate. Michael Benedik of the College of Science will be the incoming speaker for the 2011-12 academic year and Dr. Stallone will take on the speaker role in 2012-13. We look forward to his successful term as speaker.
  • I am pleased to announce that Dr. Cheryl Walker from M D Anderson Cancer Center will be joining our CVM team in a shared position between the Texas A&M Health Science Center and our college. For the TAMHSC, Dr. Walker will assume the directorship of the IBT in Houston. Her 25% CVM appointment is shared 50:50 between VTPP and VIBS with a major charge to re-establish the Center for Environmental and Rural Health. Her research interests include female reproductive cancers and endocrine disruptors. Dr. Walker's skill set and ability to build collaborations across disciplines make her an excellent addition.
  • Dr. James Derr has received notice that the Turner Foundation International has awarded his lab a $75,000 grant to sequence the genome of a historical American bison that lived before 1880. This is well-earned recognition for Dr. Derr's expertise in genomics and conservation.
  • Dr. Wesley Bissett and his VET team are the recipients of a large funded project from the Department of State Health Services. Their proposal to develop a web-based curriculum for emergency preparedness for H1N1 pandemic influenza and other zoonotic illnesses has been fully funded for just over $990,000.
  • Last week we hosted Perkins & Will, the architectural firm contracted to develop a facilities master plan for the CVM. Representatives from this firm have been meeting with a variety of groups and individuals to make sure our plan is comprehensive and reflective of broad needs and desires. The CVM Facilities Master Plan Task Force is spearheading this initiative. This task force, first chaired by Kenita Rogers, was originally charged in 2009 to develop a plan for facilities needs over the next 10 years. Their report, which includes research, teaching, outreach, and hospital facilities, laid the groundwork for an architectural firm to convert their ideas into a tangible concept plan. After the architectural firm was officially hired, the CVM Facilities Master Plan Task Force was recharged under the chairmanship of Sam Wigington, CVM Director of Facilities, and expanded for broader representation, as indicated below. Perkins & Will will distill the many ideas into a first draft master plan and return in mid to late June to present this draft to us. Please do not hesitate to share your ideas with members of the task force. Also, we would like to involve BIMS, DVM, and graduate students in planning as we embark on facility design.
  • Members of the CVM Facilities Master Plan Task Force are: Sam Wigington (Chair), Kenita Rogers (Academic Programs), Bhanu Chowdhary (Research & Graduate Education), Evelyn Castiglioni (VIBS & BIMS), Sandee Hartsfield (VSCS), Glen Laine (VTPP), Linda Logan (VTPB), Bill Moyer/ Allen Roussel (VLCS), Terry Stiles (VMTH), Dan Posey (Special Programs), Terry Fossum (TIPS), Chuck Vrooman (Finance), Skip Landis (BIMS), Clay Ashley (Vet Med Park), Loren Skow (CVM Facilities), Roger Smith (VTPB), Noberto Espitia (SAH), Anton Hoffman (Anatomy), Bubba Woytek (Development), John Scroggs (College Staff & Support Services), Tammy Beckham (TVMDL & FAZD), Esther Carrigan (Library), Jim Heird (Equine Initiative), Jason Sawyer (Animal Science/ Texas AgriLife), Rod Weis (Business Affairs/ Campus Facilities), Jim Elliott (Comparative Medicine), Bruce Whitney (Biological Safety Officer), Brad Urbanczyk (Environmental Health & Public Safety)
  • Parents' Weekend is a special occasion here at the CVM, and this year the Texas A&M Parents' Weekend Committee asked me to contribute a "Lunch with the Dean" to their silent auction. One of our BIMS students, Alexandra Pruett, was the successful bidder. Alex is interested in becoming a veterinarian after completing her BIMS degree, and volunteers not only with the Parents' Weekend Committee, but also with the Brazos Animal Shelter. I was honored to enjoy lunch with such an outstanding student, and I wish her all the best in her studies.
  • On Friday, May 20, we held our 12th Annual CVM Picnic. This picnic is intended to thank CVM faculty, staff, and friends for all they do throughout the year for CVM, Texas A&M, and Texas. It was a wonderful opportunity to enjoy good food and fellowship. I thank everyone involved in making this picnic the fun-filled event that it was, especially Kathie Smith, who spearheaded the event. I sincerely thank the entire CVM family for their dedication to making this one of the best places to work and to learn.

Sincerely,
Eleanor M. Green, DVM, DACVIM, DABVP
Carl B. King Dean of Veterinary Medicine
College of Veterinary Medicine & Biomedical Sciences
Texas A&M University
(979) 845-5053