News Releases, College of Veterinary Medicine at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign

University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign

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College of Veterinary Medicine
University of Illinois
3225 Vet. Med. Basic Sciences Bldg.
2001 S. Lincoln Ave.
Urbana, IL 61802
September 20, 2011




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Contact: Chris Beuoy
217/244-1562
beuoy@illinois.edu

Alumni Receive Illinois Veterinary College Awards

The University of Illinois College of Veterinary Medicine and its alumni association presented four Dr. Erwin Small Distinguished Alumni Awards and a Special Service Award on September 15, 2011, during the annual Fall Conference for Veterinarians.

The Dr. Erwin Small Distinguished Alumni Award, which recognizes Illinois graduates who have made significant contributions to the veterinary profession or the college, was created in honor of Dr. Erwin Small, professor emeritus and former associate dean for alumni and public affairs at the college, who dedicated his entire career to the advancement of the veterinary profession and specifically to the University of Illinois College of Veterinary Medicine.

The Special Service Award honors an individual or organization that has made significant contributions to the veterinary profession or to the University of Illinois College of Veterinary Medicine.

Dr. Wesley G. Bieritz, retired owner-partner of Stateline Hillcrest Animal Hospital, in Danville, Ill., received the Dr. Erwin Small Distinguished Alumni Award in recognition of his support of veterinary students and recent graduates. After receiving his veterinary degree in 1963, Dr. Bieritz practiced in Princeton, Ill, later moving to Danville, where he owned and operated a number of clinics with his partner Dr. George Richards. As president of the Illinois State Veterinary Medical Association, Dr. Bieritz established the Illinois Veterinary Medical Foundation, which currently supports four student scholarships at the University of Illinois College of Veterinary Medicine. He also worked to establish a program which sends a recent graduate from each of seven regions in Illinois to the American Veterinary Medical Association's annual Emerging Leaders Conference. Dr. Bieritz also initiated a spay/neuter program enabling College of Veterinary Medicine students to gain surgical training while helping to make shelter animals more adoptable. Dr. Biertiz has also been the driving force behind the establishment of the Class of 1963 Endowment Fund.

Dr. Dennis E. Brooks, professor, College of Veterinary Medicine, University of Florida, Gainesville , Fla., received the Dr. Erwin Small Distinguished Alumni Award in recognition of his contributions to the field of veterinary ophthalmology. After earning his veterinary degree in 1980, Dr. Brooks went on to become a diplomate of the American College of Veterinary Ophthalmology, complete an ophthalmology residency and receive his PhD from the University of Florida. Widely regarded as an authority on corneal transplantation and glaucoma, as well as infectious corneal ulcers in horses, Dr. Brooks has an extensive list of publications. He has mentored and taught 27 ophthalmology residents, and nine advanced degree students, and continues to teach the ophthalmology courses offered at the University of Florida.

Dr. Andrew Michael Dahlem, vice president and chief operating officer of Eli Lilly Research Laboratories, Indianapolis, Ind., received the Dr. Erwin Small Distinguished Alumni Award for his leadership in the discovery and testing of innovative pharmaceuticals. Dr. Dahlem earned his PhD at the University of Illinois' Department of Veterinary Biosciences, where his research explored the toxicology and chemistry of cyanobacterial toxins. Following his graduation in 1989, Dr. Dahlem worked as a research scientist at Merrell Dow Pharmaceuticals, before beginning his career at Lilly in 1990. In his current role, Dr. Dahlem leads Lilly's extensive research arm, overseeing numerous teams of scientists and researchers with highly specialized skills and knowledge in virtually all aspects of health sciences. He has served on numerous boards and panels in the health sciences community, including the Society of Toxicology, the American Association for the Advancement of Science, and the National Academies Forum on Drug Discovery, Development, and Translation. Dr. Dahlem maintains an active role in veterinary medical education, holding adjunct professor positions here at the University of Illinois College of Veterinary Medicine, as well as at Purdue, and The Ohio State University. He was also instrumental in the 2004 development of the Eli Lilly Fellowship in Toxicologic Pathobiology and the Eli Lilly Fellowship in Toxicology/Pharmacology.

Dr. Michael Schaer, professor and small animal medicine service chief, University of Florida, Gainesville, Fla., received the Erwin Small Distinguished Alumni Award for his contributions to the field of small animal medicine. After receiving his veterinary degree from Illinois in 1970, Dr. Schaefer completed both an internship and residency in internal medicine at the Animal Medical Center. He went on to become one of the first candidates to pass the American College of Veterinary Internal Medicine (ACVIM) written exam for certification. He was also selected as a charter diplomate of the American College of Veterinary Emergency and Critical Care (ACVECC). Recognized as a leading clinical specialist, Dr. Schaer has received numerous teaching awards and has published hundreds of papers. His service to the field includes offices held in ACVIM, ACVECC, and the American Association of Veterinary Clinicians.

Karen Koenig, a captain with the United Parcel Service and Urbana, Ill., resident, was selected to receive a Special Service award in recognition of her tireless advocacy for compassionate care of animals. Through volunteerism, financial support, and stewardship, she has had a positive impact on the lives of both animals and humans. In 2002, inspired by her devotion to Illinois wildlife, Koenig underwent Raptor Handler Training, becoming certified through the Wildlife Medical Clinic to provide care for the clinic's resident educational raptors. She was also the 2003 recipient of the Wildlife Medical Clinic's Wildlife for Life award.