Dr. George Lees, professor of Veterinary Internal Medicine at the Texas A&M College of Veterinary Medicine & Biomedical Sciences (CVM) has received two distinguished awards this summer: The Robert W. Kirk Award for Professional Excellence from the American College of Veterinary Internal Medicine (ACVIM) and the American Veterinary Medical Foundation (AVMF)/ American Kennel Club (AKC) Career Achievement Award in Canine Research.
The Robert W. Kirk Award for Professional Excellence is an annual award that has only 21 recipients to date. The award is given by the ACVIM to Diplomates of the ACVIM who have outstanding careers in veterinary medicine with national and international recognition for their contributions and service in such activities as clinical medical practice, instruction, research, and/or public service.
The AVMF/AKC Career Achievement Award in Canine
Research was established in 2009. Lees is the first recipient of this award that recognizes individuals who have made a long-term contribution to canine research.
“I am honored to receive both awards,” said Lees. “The Kirk Award is especially significant to me because I have been an ACVIM member for most of my professional career and the ACVIM is composed of my peers. The AVMF/AKC Career Achievement award also means a lot to me because the selection was solely based on my CV.”
“I know that I could not be in this position if it were not for my family, colleagues, and the department and college leaders who encouraged me to continue my research,” explained Lees. “My job is similar to that of conducting an orchestra. There is a wind section, a percussion section, and many other sections that are all great at what they do. Someone has to stand at the front to orchestrate and pull things together. Science is a team effort.”
Lees received his DVM from Colorado State University in 1972. After graduation, he was a Captain in the U.S. Army Veterinary Corps for three years (1972-75) before completing an internship at UC Davis (1975-76) and an internal medicine residency and MS degree at the University of Minnesota (1976-79). Then he joined the faculty at CVM in 1980.
Some of Lees’ contributions to the world of veterinary medicine include his work with hereditary kidney diseases in dogs. His efforts lead to the eradication of an inherited disease in the English Cocker Spaniel. His groundbreaking efforts also include spearheading the establishment of the Texas Veterinary Renal Pathology Service to help improve and standardize the pathologic diagnosis of renal diseases in dogs and cats and to facilitate sharing and analysis of digital pathology imagery throughout the world.
“I have worked hard for many years,” said Lees. “I am happy that my work is being recognized, but it is on behalf of a large group of people that I have accepted these awards.”