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Fall 1998 Vol.22 No.4
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Record-breaking Fall Conference
a Time for Memories and Honors

by Archana Reddy

Fall Conference(picture)
Clockwise from front right: Ellen Blakeman, Doug McConnell, Dr. LeRoy Biehl, Dr. A. Robert Twardock, Dr. Wayne J. Rehn, Dr. James Ervin Hagedorn, and alumni association president Dr. Bill Armbruster.

With a record-breaking attendance of over 500, including speakers, faculty, students, and 321 paid registrants, the 1998 Annual Fall Conference of Veterinarians was truly bigger and better than ever. An outstanding roster of keynote speakers featured Illinois graduates. A Thursday evening banquet in recognition of the College’s 50th anniversary drew more than 300 to the Illini Union to hear Dr. Erwin Small reflect on the antics of early classes and faculty.

At the noon meeting of the College chapter of the Alumni Association on October 15, the Dr. Erwin Small Veterinary Achievement Award was presented to two faculty members. Dr. LeRoy Biehl, coordinator of Continuing Education-Public Service/Extension, and Dr. A. Robert Twardock, retired professor of veterinary biosciences, accepted the award from alumni association president Dr. Bill Armbruster (’88). Last year Dr. Erwin Small was the first to receive this award, which now bears his name. It recognizes excellence in practice, teaching, research, or involvement in organized veterinary medicine.

Although Dr. Biehl graduated from the college in 1958 and Dr. Twardock in 1956, both devoted many additional years to the College. Dr. Twardock, now retired, was with the college for 36 years and in that time was a pioneer of equine nuclear medicine.

A faculty member for 26 years, Dr. Biehl will join Dr. Twardock in retirement this January. He is recognized for his commitment to the community and for his role in establishing the Executive Veterinary Program, a program that provides advanced management skills and new career paths to veterinarians.

Dr. James Ervin Hagedorn received the Service Award in recognition of meritorious service to the veterinary profession. A graduate of Iowa State University, the canine and feline specialist is now the owner and hospital director of Bramer Animal Hospital, Evanston, Illinois. Dr. Hagedorn was recognized by Town and Country magazine as a notable practitioner in 1997.

For service to the College and the veterinary profession, the alumni association presented the Special Service Award to Dr. David McConnell (’56). Doug McConnell and Ellen Blakeman accepted the award on behalf of their father, who could not be present. Dr. McConnell is the founder and director of the Dundee Animal Hospital, the largest private veterinary practice in Illinois. He is a former president of the Northern Illinois VMA and the Chicago VMA and has also received the Alumni Merit Award.

This year’s Alumni Merit Award went to Dr. Wayne J. Rehn (’61). In addition to running a private practice, he sat on the board of directors for the Illinois State VMA and was an appointed member to the Illinois Veterinary Licensing and Disciplinary Board. The merit award is given in recognition of outstanding accomplishments in the field of practice, contributions to the progress of veterinary medicine, and good citizenship and community service.

The University of Illinois Alumni Association also was on hand to honor the Illinois graduates who were keynote speakers: Dr. Ralph Vinson (’57) received the Loyalty Award, and a Certificate of Appreciation was presented to Dr. Joseph Connor (’76), Dr. Robert C. DeNovo (’77), Dr. Gary Dial (’82), Dr. Walter Guterbock (’78), Dr. James McKean (’70), Dr. Timothy R. O’Brien (’65), Dr. Michael Pavletic (’74) and Dr. J.P. Pollreisz (’85).

At the conclusion of the meeting, Dr. Charles Francisco (’89) took office as the next president of the Alumni Association.

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