Fall Issue 2014

by Bryan Slinker, dean of the College of Veterinary Medicine

I have been reflecting the past few days about what binds those of us who care about this college—your College of Veterinary Medicine.

We recently held our annual Dean’s Reception and Celebration of Excellence in Seattle and had a great turnout of alumni and friends. I was struck by the diversity of connections in our extended college family among those in attendance. Some were Cougs. Many were not. And among those not blessed by being Cougs, were Huskies. Some were veterinarians. Many were not. Among the veterinarians were those with careers in small and large animal private practice, laboratory animal medicine, shelter medicine, basic biomedical science, and the pet health care industry. Non-veterinarians were social workers, engineers, organizational consultants, financial advisors, and developers—among others—some of whom have significant connections to other colleges at WSU. Many are also strong supporters of other organizations with whom we share interests and aspirations, including the Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center, the Seattle Humane Society, and the Woodland Park Zoo.

What connected us that night as diverse members of the large extended college family was a shared commitment to animals that comes in many forms: Vaccinating dogs in Tanzania to save the lives of Maasai children; preserving the human-animal bond by keeping our animal companions healthy and happy; conducting research that pushes the leading edge of human and animal health in ways we could not have conceived of a few years ago; or protecting the quality and safety of our food supply. Whatever form our commitment takes, we come together because of what animals mean to us and how together we advance animal and human health and well-being.

There were two major takeaways from the evening that I want to highlight. First, we very much need a new Magnetic Resonance Imager (MRI) in our Veterinary Teaching Hospital. Dr. Annie Chen-Allen told of her brain tumor research program, and how it depends on the MRI. As with many things these days, we will in turn depend on the generosity of many of you in our extended family to raise much of the $2.5 million needed for the new MRI. I am very pleased to report that to date we have secured commitments of nearly $900,000 toward this goal, $250,000 of which depends on garnering matching gifts. That is a great start, but you will continue to hear about this priority need. Second, Dr. Chen-Allen and our college were presented with a grant from the Kathi Goertzen Foundation. I can think of no better example of our connectedness than to have Rick Jewett, Kathi’s husband, and the Kathi Goertzen Foundation board there to award our college a grant to study brain cancer in dogs, which will help us improve the care of animals while at the same time advancing the care of humans. These connections run so deep that we learned one of Kathi and Rick’s dogs had also been taken by brain cancer, and had been treated by one of our veterinary alumni in the room, Dr. John Kelly (’73 DVM) at Elliot Bay Animal Hospital in Seattle.

Let’s stay connected—we can do so much together.

Go Cougs!