Retiring AVMA CEO Returns to Purdue to Share Insights with Students

By Alyssa Strumpf (DVM Class of 2018), Purdue VBMA Chapter President

AVMA CEO and Purdue alumnus Ron DeHaven with Purdue VBMA Officers Sarah Dengler, secretary; Laura Maple, treasurer; and Alyssa Strumpf, president.
AVMA CEO and Purdue alumnus Ron DeHaven with Purdue VBMA Officers Sarah Dengler, secretary; Laura Maple, treasurer; and Alyssa Strumpf, president.

When one of Purdue Veterinary Medicine’s most prominent alumni returned to campus during the spring semester to speak to PVM students, the presentation culminated a year-long effort by officers of the Purdue Chapter of the Veterinary Business Management Association (VBMA).  At the 2015 national VBMA meeting in Orlando, our executive board had the pleasure of meeting Dr. Ron DeHaven (PU DVM ’75), CEO of the American Veterinary Medical Association (AVMA), during a roundtable session. After hearing he was none other than a Purdue graduate, one of our officers, Sarah Dengler, took the initiative and invited him to sit with us during lunch. Although only having a brief introduction, I asked him if he would be willing to come speak at Purdue, especially during a Grand Rounds session, so that the majority of the classes could hear his talk. He excitedly said “yes,” since he always considers it a pleasure to have a chance to get back to the Purdue campus. It took us just over a year to match up schedules and thus he finally was able to come speak to us.

Dr. DeHaven, who also holds an Honorary Purdue Doctor of Science degree (2005), has had a phenomenal career.  During his talk to the students on February 3, he explained how he deviated far from his original plan of being a private companion animal practitioner.  Yet, in the end, he reached the very top of the profession.

Dr. Ron Hullinger, professor of developmental anatomy, who joined the PVM faculty in 1969, shares a laugh with his former student, AVMA CEO Ron DeHaven.
Dr. Ron Hullinger, professor of developmental anatomy, who joined the PVM faculty in 1969, shares a laugh with his former student, AVMA CEO Ron DeHaven.

Dr. DeHaven joined the AVMA as executive vice president in 2007, after more than two decades of service with the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service (APHIS).  He has announced his plans to retire this summer.  Dr. DeHaven shared valuable advice during the Grand Rounds session, enlightening the students on what the AVMA really is and what the organization continues to do to help promote and protect the veterinary profession. He also provided insight on how the AVMA is tackling the debt-to-income ratio facing veterinary students. Not only was his presentation great, but Dr. DeHaven also was asked to address some challenging topics during the question and answer session. His thoughtful and insightful responses really got the student body thinking, as he emphasized the AVMA’s commitment to addressing their concerns.

On behalf of the Executive Board of VBMA, I can say it was an absolute pleasure having Dr. DeHaven come back to Purdue. Not only were the students impressed, but it was delightful to see various faculty come up and say hello again and for us all to see the impact that Dr. DeHaven has had on our college and our profession.


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