Honoring Distinguished Alumni and Instructors

Friday, December 15, 2023

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Portraits of award-winning alumni and instructors

Outstanding faculty and alumni were honored by the Purdue University College of Veterinary Medicine during multiple ceremonies that featured annual awards and recognition. Faculty awards recognized teaching, research, service, and scholarship of engagement, while alumni were honored for their outstanding careers in the veterinary medical profession.

Alumni Awards

Purdue Veterinary Medicine’s 2023 Distinguished Alumni Awards were presented during the Purdue Veterinary Conference at the Alumni and Friends Celebration in the Purdue Memorial Union September 20. Dr. W. Mark Hilton (PU BS ’80, DVM ’83), clinical professor emeritus of veterinary clinical sciences and technical consultant for Elanco Animal Health, received the college’s Distinguished Alumnus Award. The Distinguished Veterinary Nursing Alumni Award was presented to Pam Phegley, BS, RVT (PU AS-VT ’83; BSVT 2001), Veterinary Nursing Program clinical mentorship coordinator.

The Distinguished Alumnus Award was established in 1978 by members of the DVM Class of 1967 as a memorial tribute to their classmate, Dr. David Mullis, who was honored posthumously as the first award recipient. Dr. Hilton earned his bachelor’s degree in animal sciences at Purdue University in 1980 before enrolling in the College of Veterinary Medicine. After earning his DVM degree in 1983, he joined the DeWitt Veterinary Clinic in Iowa where he spent 15 years as a partner in the predominantly food animal practice. He then returned to Purdue University in 1998 to teach beef production medicine. During his Purdue career, Dr. Hilton rose through the academic ranks while educating students on food animal ambulatory calls. After retiring from the university in 2016, he joined Elanco Animal Health as a technical consultant providing beef cattle veterinarians with production medicine support.

Pam Phegley and Mark Hilton stand together holding up their award plaques
Pam Phegley, BS, RVT and Dr. W. Mark Hilton, were honored as the 2023 Distinguished Alumni at the Purdue Veterinary Conference.

Dr. Hilton is a diplomate of the American Board of Veterinary Practitioners in the beef cattle specialty, and has actively served the veterinary medical profession in a variety of roles. He is a member of the American Association of Bovine Practitioners (AABP) and past president of the Western Veterinary Conference (WVC). He has received numerous awards, including the Student American Veterinary Medical Association’s national teaching award, WVC’s Continuing Educator of the Year Award, and the Merial and AABP Excellence in Preventive Medicine Award for Beef. In addition, he was named by Bovine Veterinarian as one of the 20 Most Influential Bovine Veterinarians in North America in 2013 and in 2021 he received the Mentor of the Year Award presented jointly by the AABP and Merck Animal Health.

Ms. Phegley received her Associate in Applied Science degree from what was then called the Purdue Veterinary Technology program in 1983, and later completed the additional study to earn her Bachelor of Science degree in veterinary technology in 2001. Ms. Phegley began her career at Purdue as chief technologist of small animal medicine in the Purdue University Veterinary Hospital. As one who was interacting with students on a regular basis, she opted to pursue her passion for teaching by then serving for 21 years as clinical coordinator of the Veterinary Nursing Program. Most recently, Ms. Phegley has transitioned to the role of clinical mentorship coordinator in the Veterinary Nursing Distance Learning program.

Through her dedicated 39-year career, Ms. Phegley’s skills as a veterinary nurse and educator have been recognized with numerous awards. She also is an ambassador for Purdue through membership in the Indiana Veterinary Technician Association and active involvement with the National Association of Veterinary Technicians in America. When she is not teaching, she fills in serving patients in the hospital.

Awards for Faculty and Instructors

The group pause for a photo following the award ceremony.
Dean Reed joins Faculty Teaching Award honorees: Drs. John Christian, Mindy Anderson, Kevin Hannon, and Stephanie Inoue.

Several faculty members and instructors were honored with awards recognizing outstanding accomplishments during multiple ceremonies at the conclusion of the spring semester.

The first ceremony, held in Lynn Hall on April 26, honored faculty who received teaching awards based on evaluations by each class of DVM students. Dean Willie Reed began the program by explaining that each year veterinary students are asked to evaluate the teaching effectiveness of faculty members using the following standard:

“An outstanding teacher is one who demonstrates superior ability in communicating the chosen material to students and stimulates their desire to master the material. This teacher will also recognize that their teaching responsibility does not stop at the classroom door, and therefore, will be ready to aid and motivate students in a counseling and advisory capacity, either formally or informally.”

The following 2023 award winners were honored as top teachers in each year of the DVM program:

Dr. Kevin Hannon, associate professor of basic medical sciences, was selected by the Class of 2026 to receive the PVM Award for Excellence in Teaching from First-Year DVM Students. Dr. Hannon teaches Gross Anatomy of the Dog and Cat in the fall semester and Veterinary Neuroscience in the spring semester. He also teaches in the Veterinary Nursing Program. Dr. Hannon has demonstrated innovation in his teaching by creating an interactive application, Active Lesson, that allows the students to practice active recall and visualize anatomy from multiple perspectives.

Dr. Stephanie Inoue, lecturer in the Department of Veterinary Administration, was chosen by the Class of 2025 to receive the PVM Award for Excellence in Teaching from Second-Year DVM Students. Dr. Inoue teaches in the Veterinary Skills and Competencies (VSAC) courses as well as the Applications and Integrations courses. She is respected by students for her high standards and the support she provides to students. She also is dedicated to maintaining the health and wellbeing of the college’s Canine Educators.

Mindy Anderson, PharmD, clinical assistant professor of basic medical sciences, was recognized with the PVM Award for Excellence in Teaching from Third-Year DVM Students, based on her selection by the Class of 2024. She is the instructor-of-record for Veterinary Pharmacology Principles and Applications and Applied Pharmacology II. Anderson’s years of experience as a veterinary nurse enable her to make pharmacology very practical. Although she teaches primarily in the second year of the DVM program, she made such a lasting impact on the Class of 2024 that they chose to recognize her in their third year.

Dr. John Christian, associate professor of veterinary clinical pathology and director of the Clinical Pathology Laboratory, was selected by the Class of 2023 to receive the PVM Award for Excellence in Teaching from Fourth-Year DVM Students. Dr. Christian is the instructor-of-record for Clinical Chemistries in the second year. In the first year of the curriculum, he teaches physiology and provides valuable support to the A&I courses. The students appreciate Dr. Christian’s reflections on values that are the foundation of respected professionals and his caring attitude. Dr. Christian’s selection by the fourth year class is a testament to the lasting impression he has made on them.

Dean Reed stands next to the award-winning faculty as they hold up their award plaques
Dean Reed recognized faculty award winners (pictured left-right): Drs. Sandy Taylor, Janice Kritchevsky, Kari Ekenstedt, Darryl Ragland, Aimee Brooks, John Christian, and Kevin Hannon. Not pictured: Dr. Michael Childress.

On May 12, another set of awards was presented at the Faculty Awards Celebration in Lynn Hall recognizing the following professors:

Dr. Janice Kritchevsky, professor of large animal internal medicine and large animal chief of staff in the Veterinary Hospital, received the Alumni Faculty Award for Excellence. Nominations for this award are submitted by faculty, and the awardee is selected by a committee of faculty and alumni on the basis of the nominee’s performance and contributions in research, instruction, and public relations and professional services.  Dr. Kritchevsky has a long record of dedicated service, including serving on multiple committees.  She also developed and led the PetSafe program, which is a community service offered by the college to meet the short-term housing needs of pets as a result of emergencies caused by natural disasters, domestic violence or the animals’ or owners’ need for hospice care.  In addition, Dr. Kritchevsky has achieved great success as a large animal medicine teacher. Veterinary students have consistently evaluated her as being extremely effective teaching in both the classroom and clinic.

Dr. John Christian, associate professor of veterinary clinical pathology and director of the Clinical Pathology Laboratory, was presented with the Zoetis Distinguished Teacher Award, based on the aforementioned evaluation by veterinary students of the teaching effectiveness of PVM faculty.

Dr. Kevin Hannon, associate professor of basic medical sciences, received the PVM Alumni Outstanding Teaching Award, as a result of his selection, based on the aforementioned annual veterinary student evaluation of the teaching effectiveness of PVM faculty members.

Dr. Aimee Brooks, clinical associate professor of small animal emergency and critical care, was presented with the Excellence in Teaching Award sponsored by the college. Recipients are chosen from nominations made by peers. Dr. Brooks receives consistent praise from her students in her teaching evaluations and also is highly rated in her lecture and laboratory sessions by students who often cite her ability to clearly communicate material as well as her enthusiasm and motivation. Additionally, she is very involved in extracurricular clinical experiences that provide students with additional exposure to hands-on learning experiences.

Dr. Kari Ekenstedt, assistant professor of anatomy and genetics, received the Zoetis Award for Veterinary Research Excellence. Dr. Ekenstedt’s research is focused on determining the genetic basis of naturally occurring, spontaneous canine and feline diseases. Her work includes identifying the causative mutations of these diseases and making genetic tests available for breeders. Additionally, many of the mutations in dogs and cats have comparable mutations in humans, thereby providing relevant biomedical models for human disease.

Dr. Michael Childress, associate professor of comparative oncology, was honored with the PVM Excellence in Research Award sponsored by the college, which recognizes faculty members for their roles in generating new knowledge through basic and clinical research. In addition to his role as a clinician, educating students and treating patients, Dr. Childress conducts extensive research aimed at developing new therapies and identifying novel prognostic and predictive biomarkers for canine lymphomas.  He also focuses on naturally-occurring canine lymphomas as a translational model for non-Hodgkin lymphomas in humans, and is a member of the Purdue University Institute for Cancer Research.

Dr. Sandy Taylor, associate professor of large animal internal medicine, received the PVM Excellence in Service Award. This award was established to honor Purdue Veterinary Medicine faculty who have demonstrated consistent and sustained delivery of services through the college. Dr. Taylor has had a transformative impact on large animal services in the Purdue University Veterinary Hospital, where large animal caseload has been growing consistently and rapidly. Dr. Taylor personifies the competent and compassionate care for which the college is known. She consistently receives excellent reviews from clients and serves as an excellent role model for students, keeping the patient’s needs as a top priority while always remaining upbeat and professional.

Dr. Darryl Ragland, associate professor of food animal production medicine, was presented with the PVM Excellence in Scholarship of Engagement Award. This award was established to honor Purdue Veterinary Medicine faculty who have demonstrated consistent and sustained outreach efforts through the college.  Dr. Ragland is praised for his willingness and commitment to do the behind-the-scenes work necessary to advance the college’s creative and entrepreneurial efforts to make Purdue Veterinary Medicine and the veterinary medical profession more diverse and inclusive.  As a faculty member, he is extremely enthusiastic about providing opportunities for students interested in veterinary medicine and particularly swine production medicine.

As part of the college’s Graduation Celebration May 14, Dr. Andrew Woolcock, associate professor of small animal internal medicine, was honored with the Weedon Faculty Recognition Award, which is given to the faculty member who has made the greatest contribution to members of the current fourth-year veterinary class during their progress toward their DVM degrees. Patience Klecka, RVT, veterinary nurse in the hospital’s Emergency and Critical Care Service, was recognized with the Elanco Veterinary Technology Outstanding Teaching Award, which is given to honor a Veterinary Nursing educator who has clearly communicated course content, facilitated skill acquisition, motivated students, shown a continued willingness to facilitate learning outside of a formal setting, counseled and mentored students, and served as a positive role model.

Writer(s): Kevin Doerr |

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