For the past 10 years, the Texas A&M College of Veterinary Medicine & Biomedical Sciences (CVM) has been working with West Texas A&M University (WTAMU) on a plan to bring Texas A&M’s top 4-ranked Doctor of Veterinary Medicine (DVM) program to WTAMU through the joint Veterinary Education, Research, & Outreach (VERO) initiative.
On Oct. 2, three individuals who have played a critical role in bringing that plan to fruition were honored by Dr. Eleanor M. Green, the Carl B. King Dean of Veterinary Medicine at Texas A&M, with Dean’s Impact Awards.
Dr. Gregg Veneklasen, owner of Timber Creek Veterinary Hospital in Canyon, Dr. Walter Wendler, WTAMU president, and Ross Wilson, president of Texas Cattle Feeders Association (TCFA) were recognized for their significant contributions to the CVM during the VERO Advisory Council Meeting, held on the WTAMU campus.
“All three of our honorees have been instrumental in the programming we have put in place for our veterinary students and for West Texas A&M pre-veterinary students as part of our VERO program,” Green said.
A graduate of Colorado State University, Veneklasen is recognized worldwide as an industry leader in equine reproduction and cloning and has been involved in wildlife rehabilitation for more than 25 years. He opened Timber Creek Veterinary Hospital in 1989, after working as resident veterinarian at 3-D Ranch in Canadian, Texas, and at Fulton Ranch in Giddings, Texas.
Veneklasen is a member of the American Veterinary Medical Association (AVMA), American Association of Equine Practitioners (AAEP), Texas Veterinary Medical Association (TVMA), Society for Theriogenology, American Association of Wildlife Veterinarians, American Embryo Transfer Association, and International Embryo Transfer Society.
He also was awarded with the Texas Veterinary Medical Diagnostic Laboratory Diagnostician of the Year Award in 1999.
“Dr. Gregg Veneklasen has played a substantial role in our ability to offer large animal externship opportunities for our students in the Texas Panhandle and in working with our VERO team to ensure the educational impact we make truly benefits the veterinary and pre-veterinary students at the CVM and WTAMU,” Green said.
Wendler joined WTAMU following a six-year tenure as chancellor of Southern Illinois University (SIU) Carbondale.
Before joining SIU, Wendler served as vice chancellor for planning and system integration at The Texas A&M University System and as executive assistant to the president of the dean of the College of Architecture, as well as other administrative and faculty roles, at Texas A&M.
The New York native earned an associate’s degree from the State University of New York at Farmingdale, a bachelor’s degree in environmental design from Texas A&M, a master’s degree in architecture from the University of California, Berkeley, and a Ph.D. from the University of Texas at Austin.
“Dr. Walter Wendler has been an outstanding partner in the VERO initiative,” Green said. “In his three years as WTAMU president, we have worked together to break ground on the new VERO facility and the new TVMDL building; establish clinical rotations in the Texas Panhandle for fourth-year veterinary students; and create a 2+2 educational program that will allow Texas A&M veterinary students to spend two years of their veterinary education in the Panhandle before completing their DVM degrees in College Station.
“These combined efforts will offer immediate engagement and additional unique and readily applicable experiences for DVM students who want to pursue food animal and production medicine as a career path,” she said.
Wilson joined TCFA as government affairs director and was named vice president before being named president in 2006. During Wilson’s career at TCFA, he has been the association’s point person on state and national legislative and regulatory issues for cattle feeders.
During his tenure with TCFA, Wilson has successfully garnered support and funding for research programs in agriculture and has worked to the benefit of producers and consumers alike in the fed-cattle industry and beyond.
Wilson has chaired and served on a number of national cattle industry projects, committees and executive committees and has been recognized with the Gerald W. Thomas Outstanding Agriculturist Award from Texas Tech University; a WTAMU First Choice Award for Support; a Texas A&M AgriLife Distinguished Texan in Agriculture Award; and is a 2001 Texas Tech Distinguished Alumnus of the College of Agricultural Sciences and Natural Resources.
“Mr. Ross Wilson is another strong advocate for our VERO initiative,” Green said. “The work he does with the TCFA in representing more than 200 cattle feedyards in Texas, Oklahoma and New Mexico, and more than 4,500 feeder members in several states that contribute to the production of almost 30 percent of the nation’s fed beef supply has an enormous impact on Texas, the U.S., and the world, and together, with the TCFA behind us, the CVM will do its part in supporting the TCFA’s mission by graduating the food animal veterinarians who will work to sustain the industry.”
The Dean’s Impact Award is intended to recognize those who have made significant contributions to the college. Recipients can be within the college, from the campus, from the Texas A&M System, or friends of the college.
Contact Information: Jennifer Gauntt, Interim Director of CVM Communications, Texas A&M College of Veterinary Medicine & Biomedical Science; firstname.lastname@example.org; 979-862-4216