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Associate Dean Terry Rathgeber Retires

[Terry and Judy Rathgeber]Starting as college editor in 1971 and culminating as associate dean for Development and Alumni Affairs, Terry Rathgeber devoted his career to advancing the College of Veterinary Medicine. He retired on December 31 after 32 years of service. During his tenure as chief fund-raising officer, endowments grew to almost $8 million.

Rathgeber was originally hired to produce the joint College/Illinois State Veterinary Medical Association publication Illinois Veterinarian. He eventually transformed that into the College’s quarterly newsletter Veterinary Report, and also initiated the weekly pet column program, two longstanding and successful vehicles of communication.

At the start of the campus’s first big fund-raising campaign in the 1980s, the College conducted a national search for its first development officer and chose Rathgeber.

Major gifts received under his guidance include the Edith Kosterka Equine Reproductive Program, the Billie Alexander Field Memorial Fund, and commitments from Mr. John and Mrs. Marie Black, Dr. Florence Dunbar, Dr. Bill and Mrs. Joyce Huber, Dr. Gordon and Mrs. Helen Kruger, and Mrs. Margaret Secondino in support of an array of College programs.

During his tenure Rathgeber oversaw the dedications of all the current facilities, the celebration of the College’s 50th anniversary, and participation in a development campaign that raised nearly $20 million dollars for the College. He also started the Companion Animal Memorial Fund, through which veterinarians and others memorialize pets. This program has disbursed more than $890,000 to non-invasive research projects and other College programs over the past 20 years.

Rathgeber worked under four deans—Drs. L. Meyer Jones, Richard Dierks, Ted Valli, and Herb Whiteley. He fondly recalls such founding faculty as Drs. Norman Levine, Al Schiller, Paul Beamer, Harry Rhoades, Harold Bryan, Ray Hatch, and Hank Hannah, among others, and has an institutional memory second only to that of professor emeritus Dr. Erwin Small.

“On a professional level, I have been impressed by Terry’s dedication to the college, our students, and the veterinary profession,” notes Dean Herb Whiteley. “Personally, his insight, counsel, friendship, and way with a story always made working with Terry a lot of fun.”

“It’s been very rewarding to see how my work makes a difference,” says Rathgeber, “especially knowing that student awards and scholarships are endowed at several million dollars. I’m also very proud that we got the Wildlife Medical Clinic, CARE Grief Helpline, and Zoo Pathology Program established.”

Rathgeber says he particularly enjoyed getting to know the many donors and alumni who have become like family to him and his wife. “Judy has been a very important part of my work,” he says. “Some of the alums like her better than they do me.”

He looks forward to not missing her birthday this August (as he always did when working at the DuQuoin state fair), to vacations without calling the office, to reading all the books he acquired in the past 12 years, and perhaps to writing one himself. He says he could fill a book with his adventures as a fund-raiser in the veterinary world, especially the unusual gifts-in-kind to which Foundation officers more than once have responded “you want us to provide gift credit for what?”

Rathgeber was a founder and president of the national Association of Veterinary Advancement Professionals. At the College his work has been recognized with the Special Service Award from the Alumni Association in 1994 and the College Academic Professional Excellence Award in 1995. An endowment has been established to fund this award in honor of him and Judy.

To contribute to the endowment, please visit the College Web site
or call 217/333-2762.


New Advancement Dean Begins July 1

Renée Mullen will serve as the College’s assistant dean for advancement beginning July 1, 2004. She brings seven years of experience the University’s College of Engineering, where she has served as director of both development and public relations. She holds a bachelor's degree in psychology and a master's in business administration, both from The Ohio State University.

“We are very impressed with Renée’s knowledge of the development field and success in major gifts, and we are looking forward to having her on board,” says Dean Herb Whiteley.

An introduction to Mullen will appear in the next issue of Veterinary Report.

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