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Every year, for more than 50 years, The Association of Former
Students (AFS), Texas A&M University's official alumni
association, has been recognizing outstanding members of the
faculty and staff with Distinguished Achievement Awards, one of the
highest university honors. This year, four faculty members of the
College of Veterinary Medicine & Biomedical Sciences (CVM) have
been honored to receive this very special recognition.
Dr. Louise Abbott and Dr. William Murphy, associate professors
in the department of veterinary integrative biosciences, are this
year's recipients of the awards in the categories of teaching and
research, respectively. Dr. James Womack, distinguished professor
in the department of veterinary pathobiology, has been honored with
a graduate mentoring award, and Dr. Debra Zoran, associate
professor and chief of small animal internal medicine in the
department of veterinary small animal clinical sciences, has also
won the award for teaching.
"These four distinguished faculty members are a credit to our
college," said Dr. Eleanor Green, Carl B. King Dean of Veterinary
Medicine. "Their dedication and commitment to our students and our
programs, as well as that of their colleagues, are why Texas
A&M's College of Veterinary Medicine is an international leader
in animal, public and environmental health."
These faculty members will receive a $4000 cash gift, a
commemorative plaque and an engraved watch at The AFS
University-Level Awards Ceremony, which will be held on April 29
from 1:30 to 3:00 p.m. in Rudder Theater.
For Abbott, a faculty member in the CVM's neuroscience and
toxicology program, the award is the latest teaching accolade of
several she has earned during her career. She was named the
university's 1997-98 Montague-Center for Teaching Excellence
During her 15-year career at CVM, Abbott says she has
particularly enjoyed the opportunity to have one-on-one
interactions with various students, whether it has involved helping
veterinary students to make a contribution to the profession,
encouraging research at the undergraduate level or exposing
graduate students to the latest advancements in research.
"It's a prestigious honor," she said, commenting on the award.
"The fact that it included letters [of nomination] from students
makes it particularly special."
Also honored in the teaching category, Zoran is involved in
clinical, teaching and research activities in the fields of small
animal gastroenterology, nutrition and feline medicine.
"This really is overwhelming and humbling," Zoran said. "There
are so many wonderful teachers and teaching role models in our
college that I just feel blessed to be chosen for this very special
award. I wish to thank my mentors who have supported me and [have]
helped me learn how to be a better teacher." For Murphy, recipient
of award in the research category, the award is the second research
award he has received in the past six months. Last December, Murphy
won the university's JoAnn Treat Research Excellence Award.
Murphy's research is targeted toward improving our understanding
of the organization and evolution of genes that may be of relevance
to feline diseases and traits of interest through genome mapping.
He also studies the genetic and environmental changes responsible
for the diversification and extinction of mammalian populations and
"I would like to thank all of my fantastic students, staff and
colleagues in the CVM and elsewhere who make coming to work every
day a pleasure, and without whom I would not be deserving of this
honor," Murphy said in recognition of the award.
For Womack, winner of the award for graduate mentoring, the
award is an addition to the numerous prestigious honors he has
received during the course of his career. A member of the National
Academy of Sciences, Womack is credited with creating the first
genome map of cattle. His research interests include identifying
genes responsible for disease resistance in mammals and developing
animal models for human disease research and for improving animal
health and productivity.
Commenting on the award, Womack said, "Graduate students are the
glue that holds a research university together. They are the link
between teaching and research. I've been fortunate to have some
truly outstanding young men and women train in my laboratory, and
their postdoctoral success is much more of a tribute to them than
to me. I am honored to receive this award on their behalf."
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