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Two Receive Illinois Veterinary Alumni Association Awards

[Drs. Herbert Whiteley (from left), Taylor Bennett, Georgianne Ludwig, LeRoy Biehl, and Charles Wiedmeyer]
Drs. Herbert Whiteley (from left), Taylor Bennett, Georgianne Ludwig, LeRoy Biehl, and Charles Wiedmeyer.

Dr. Taylor Bennett and the late Dr. Arnold Taft were honored by the University of Illinois Veterinary Medical Alumni Association on October 9. Dr. Georgianne Ludwig (’93), president of the alumni association, made the presentations during the 84th annual Fall Conference for Veterinarians.

The Special Service Award, which recognizes an outstanding individual who has made significant contributions to the veterinary profession and/or the College, went to Dr. Taylor Bennett (Auburn ’69), associate vice chancellor for research resources, director of the Biologic Resources Laboratory, and assistant professor of pathology and biologic sciences at the University of Illinois at Chicago. Dr. Bennett earned a PhD in 1974 from the University of Illinois Medical Center, Chicago, and is a diplomate of the American College of Laboratory Animal Medicine.

In accepting the award, Dr. Bennett commented that because laboratory animal veterinarians must master many key management functions, they are uniquely qualified to assume greater administrative responsibilities within large biomedical research institutions.

While in Urbana to accept the award, Dr. Bennett spoke to veterinary students on the evolution of the animal rights movement.

The Dr. Erwin Small Distinguished Alumni Award, given to a distinguished Illinois graduate who has excelled in one of a number of practice areas and who has made significant contributions to the profession and/or College, was awarded posthumously to Dr. Arnold Taft (’57).

At the time of Dr. Taft’s death in December of 2002, he was senior staff veterinarian at the USDA Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service. Dr. Taft was a key person in the eradication of pseudorabies not only in Illinois but nationally. Before joining APHIS in 1991, Dr. Taft operated the Taft Veterinary Clinic in Olney, Ill., from 1957 until 1986 and then worked for five years with the Office of the Illinois State Veterinarian.

Dr. LeRoy Biehl (’58), professor emeritus and long-time friend of the Taft family, accepted the award at their request. The award was created in recognition of Dr. Erwin Small (’57), professor emeritus and former associate dean of alumni and public affairs at College.

At the close of the awards ceremony, the slate of incoming officers of the
UIVMAA was announced: president, Dr. Charles Wiedmeyer (’94); past president, Dr. Georgianne Ludwig; president-elect, Dr. Andrew Lucyshyn (’95); executive secretary, Dr. Allan Paul (’77); board members, Drs. J.B. Bruederle (’91), Laura Brown-Hoult (’87), Roger Dupuis (’71), Ron Durante (’93), Larry Firkins (’86), and Sarah Probst (’01); and non-voting member: Dr. Herbert Whiteley (Purdue ’77).

Outgoing president Dr. Ludwig also acknowledged the years of service provided by Dr. Erwin Small, former executive secretary and treasurer; Dr. David Rash (’60), constituent association committee representative to the University of Illinois Alumni Association; and outgoing board members Drs. Dwight Boehm (’87) and James Nuessen (’80).

Auxiliary Presents Scholarships
[Kelli Nichols and Kay Armbruster, members of the Scholarship Committee, and LaVonne Latham]During the Fall Conference alumni awards presentation, five Illinois veterinary students received scholarships from the Auxiliary to the Illinois State Veterinary Medical Association. They are (seated, from left) Adam Conroy and Heather Pelkey, both Class of 2005, and Stacey Walk, Ryan Llera, and (standing at right) Derrick Hall, all Class of 2006. On hand to present the scholarships were (from left) Kelli Nichols and Kay Armbruster, members of the Scholarship Committee, and LaVonne Latham, Auxiliary president.

She’s the Cat’s Meow!
[Mrs. LaVerne K. Smith]A check for $9,000 toward the ISVMA Auxiliary Scholarship Fund is signed by Mrs. LaVerne K. Smith, author of The Cat’s Meow, a book recounting 50 years as the wife and assistant of small-town veterinarian Dr. J. J. Smith, who practiced in Waverly, Ill. All proceeds from sales of the book go to the fund.

To receive an autographed copy of The Cat’s Meow, please send a $25 check made payable to “The C.M. Fund” to: UI College of Veterinary Medicine, 3505 VMBSB, 2001 S. Lincoln Ave., Urbana, IL 61802.

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