AUBURN, Ala. - Due to the generosity of donors and sponsors, the Auburn University College of Veterinary Medicine recently presented over $365,000 in scholarships and awards to over 125 veterinary students. Honors Night also recognized the outstanding teaching ability and research achievements of six faculty members: Drs. Dan Givens, Dwight Wolfe, Betsy Welles, Byron Blagburn, Dean Schwartz, and Doug Martin.
Dr. Dan Givens received the Carl Norden Distinguished Teacher Award. Dr. Givens is an alumnus of Auburn University, earning a D.V.M. from the College of Veterinary Medicine in 1994 and a Ph.D. in 2000. After practicing two years in Kentucky, he returned to Auburn to study viral diseases of cattle and to pursue residency training in theriogenology. His holds dual board certification by the American College of Theriogenologists and the American College of Veterinary Microbiologists. Early in his career, he received a prestigious Mentored Clinical Scientist Award from the National Institutes of Health to study bovine embryos used to mimic the response of human embryos to viral infections. Dr. Givens attained the prestigious rank of Alumni Professor in 2009 and has previously received three of the veterinary college's teaching awards including the Norden Distinguished Teaching Award in 2004, the Dean's Award for Excellence in Teaching (2001), and the SGA Outstanding Teacher Award (2007).
Dr. Dwight Wolfe is the recipient for the Dean's Award for Excellence in Teaching. Since joining the College of Veterinary Medicine faculty in 1983, Dr. Wolfe has taught 13 different courses and has been invited to lecture at Tuskegee University and St. George's University. After graduating from the University of Tennessee, he obtained his doctorate of veterinary medicine from Auburn University in 1977, and an M.S. in theriogenology in 1982. He is a diplomate of the American College of Theriogenology. Named Alabama Veterinarian of the Year in 2004, he was inducted into the Alabama Livestock Hall of Fame in 2006. In 2009 the Alabama Veterinary Medical Association presented Dr. Wolfe the Distinguished Service Award, the association's highest honor.
Dr. Betsy Welles received the 2010 SGA Outstanding Teacher Award. Dr. Wells is a nationally recognized scholar in veterinary clinical pathology, whose reputation for excellence in teaching was built at Auburn University beginning with her initial appointment to the faculty in 1990. She holds a degree from North Carolina State University, a D.V.M. degree from Auburn, and a Ph.D. from the University of Georgia. A diplomate of the American College of Veterinary Pathologists, she is a professor in the Department of Pathobiology, and director of the clinical pathology laboratory serving as a diagnostic clinical pathologist. Her teaching efforts engage veterinary students in the classroom and clinic, and incorporate residents in nearly all of the clinical disciplines. She has developed or coordinated at least six courses that span each of the four years of the veterinary curriculum.
Dr. Byron Blagburn, the recipient of the 2010 Pfizer Animal Health Award for Research Excellence, instructs first-, third-, and fourth-year students of veterinary medicine, directs graduate student research, serves as director of the clinical parasitology diagnostic laboratory, and oversees a research program which focuses on parasite-induced diseases of companion animals. His research is closely aligned with the research and development of preventive and therapeutic agents that have, or are destined to become, the standard of care within veterinary practice. A Distinguished University Professor, Dr. Blagburn received his Ph.D. in veterinary parasitology from the University of Illinois. Among his many national awards, the American Association of Veterinary Parasitologists presented him their Distinguished Veterinary Parasitologist Award in 2001.
Dr. Dean Schwartz is the recipient of the Lauren G. Wolfe Award for Excellence in Graduate Instruction. Before joining Auburn's faculty in 1993, he earned a degree in biology from Stonehill College in 1980, a Ph.D. from the University of Houston College of Pharmacy in 1987, and completed postdoctoral training at the University of Tennessee, Memphis. His research interests focus on cardiovascular pharmacology and related stress-induced changes in gene expression and cardiovascular function. A past member of the Auburn University Graduate Council, Dr. Schwartz is actively engaged in graduate instruction and graduate program development at departmental, college, and university levels. Dr. Schwartz has provided research training experiences to undergraduate and veterinary medical students and to graduate students at master's and Ph.D. levels. As a mentor, he has directed five award-winning student research projects.
Dr. Doug Martin is the first recipient of the B.F. Hoerlein Memorial Endowed Faculty Research Award. A leader in the field of comparative neuropathology and molecular medicine, Dr. Martin's work focuses on feline gangliosidosis, an inherited neurologic disease, as an animal model for Tay-Sachs disease of humans. Using the feline model, Dr. Martin and his colleagues at the Scott-Ritchey Research Center have produced convincing evidence of the efficacy of gene therapy against GM2 gangliosidosis. An alumnus of Auburn University, Dr. Martin earned his Ph.D. in biomedical sciences in 1999. Following postdoctoral training in the Scott-Ritchey Research Center, he was appointed Assistant Research Professor in 2004. He joined the Department of Anatomy, Physiology, and Pharmacology as an Associate Professor in 2009. He holds an adjunct appointment in the Department of Pathobiology. The family and friends of the late Dr. Benjamin F. Hoerlein, a College of Veterinary Medicine faculty member and first director of the Scott-Ritchey Research Center, established the Hoerlein Award. Its purpose is to recognize outstanding, innovative, and important research and discovery performed at the college.