In Memory: Dr. Kathleen Lennon (PU DVM 2015)

Friday, March 24, 2023

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PVM Alumna’s Tragic Passing Points to Importance of Available Support and Resources

A tragic sense of loss has been keenly felt across the Purdue University College of Veterinary Medicine community since word was received about the passing of Dr. Kathleen Lennon, a graduate in the Purdue DVM Class of 2015, who died by suicide March 13. A beloved equine veterinarian, Dr. Lennon, of New Albany, Ohio, was 33. 

Highly accomplished and respected as an equine practitioner working in the Quarter Horse show industry, Dr. Lennon spent much of her time going to horse shows in Ohio, Indiana, Oklahoma, and Florida. She considered her horse show family her true family that played a role in all aspects of her life.

Dr. Lennon is remembered for her dedication and relentless pursuit of the best treatments for her patients. Always diplomatic and kind-hearted in her approach, she was known for giving the same effort in caring for a “backyard” horse as she would in treating a prize-winning champion. With a phone that never was silenced, Dr. Lennon constantly responded to middle-of-the-night calls to treat horses in need of veterinary care. As the demand for her expertise and medical care grew, days off were few and far between. On the rare occasions when she did get away from work, she loved visiting her mom in Sarasota, Florida.

Besides her love for veterinary practice, Dr. Lennon also loved competing as an accomplished rider in the horse show circuit.  Dating back to when she was 13, she competed at the prestigious All American Quarter Horse Congress. Over time, she achieved such honors as being a two-time Congress Champion in Western Pleasure and Horsemanship, respectively, as well as a National Snaffle Bit Association World and Reserve World Champion, and a Level 1 AQHA Champion. Beyond her achievements, she loved the horse show environment, and the associated mix of humanity, with people of all ages from across the country joining together in a community in which she thrived.

The story of Dr. Lennon’s life explains why news of her death came as such a wrenching shock. She was loved and esteemed for all the admirable qualities that are stunningly antithetical to her fate.

In that light, family and friends want her life to light a candle of hope in the face of the mental health crisis that suicide represents. Though Dr. Lennon experienced the love of others, that caring ultimately was outweighed by internal stresses that remained private as she stoically bore the burdens of others.

Though the reasons for suicide are complex, it’s important to know that help and effective treatments are available for anyone who is struggling. The College of Veterinary Medicine encourages everyone to seek the help they need and to support others in doing the same. If you are concerned for a friend or colleague, reach out to them. No one should feel alone. Whether you get help from recommended resources or others, the important thing is to get help if you need it.

If you or someone you know is in crisis, please call or text 988 for the free and confidential Suicide and Crisis Lifeline or contact the Crisis Text Line by texting TALK to 741741. For those in the College of Veterinary Medicine, help is available via our Counseling and Wellness Services

A memorial service followed by a celebration of life reception for Dr. Lennon was held March 19 at Irongate Equestrian Center in Croton, Ohio. Click here to view the complete obituary.

The family asks that memorial donations be made to one of the following:

  • NOMV (Not One More Vet), a foundation focused on preventing suicide by veterinarians.
  • The college’s Dr. Kathleen Lennon Memorial Fund to help alleviate the cost of a veterinary education. Scholarship memorial contributions may be made online or via check made payable to the Purdue Foundation and sent to the Purdue University College of Veterinary Medicine Office of Advancement, 625 Harrison St., West Lafayette, IN 47907-2026, with the designation that the gift is in memory of Dr. Kathleen Lennon.
  • The Ohio Quarter Horse Foundation, which provides a multitude of resources for scholarships, crisis funds, education, and health and welfare.

The College of Veterinary Medicine hosted a special presentation Tuesday, March 28, as part of the Dr. Jeffrey A. Sutarik Memorial Wellness Lecture Series. The talk on the positive impact of using mindfulness in the veterinary profession was given during the Current Issues in Veterinary Medicine course. The speaker, Dr. Deidre Galbo, is a small animal veterinarian and Purdue Veterinary Medicine alumna. As a student she received the G. Edward Cummings Compassionate Care Award. After earning her DVM degree in 1999, she served seven years as a senior clinician at Angell Memorial Animal Hospital-Western New England (formerly Rowley Hospital) in Springfield, Massachusetts, before going into private practice in the Hartford, Connecticut, area.

Dr. Galbo has been an active practitioner of mindfulness ever since immersing herself in training through the Mindfulness-Based Stress Reduction course at Copper Beech Institute in 2015. She has continued her practice with the Deepening Your Practice program and has been volunteering at Copper Beech ever since. She feels strongly that mindfulness is imperative when dealing with the many emotions and stresses of veterinary medicine, as well as in ordinary life, and she has been leading mindfulness seminars and retreats for veterinarians and their staff since 2018. The title of her presentation was, “Mindfulness Through the Eyes of a Veterinarian.”

The lecture was presented in person for students in Lynn 1136 and G167. In an effort to enhance the self-care and mindset of the veterinary community as a whole, the College of Veterinary Medicine also livestreamed the lecture so that those outside PVM could attend virtually.

Writer(s): Kevin Doerr |

Category: Alumni, Our People

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