The University of Wisconsin School of Veterinary Medicine (SVM) Alumni Advisory Board has recognized four graduates with 2021 alumni awards for achievements in advancing the veterinary medical profession, animal health and humanity.
The awards were presented at a celebration event on September 11 at the School of Veterinary Medicine. The honorees’ professional service ranges from enhancing fish health and farming to supporting shelter medicine, increasing health equities and inspiring numerous generations of veterinarians.
The SVM Alumni Advisory Board launched the alumni awards program in 2019 to recognize graduates who have made signiﬁcant contributions to society and whose accomplishments, affiliations and careers have honored the legacy of excellence at the school. Terrence P. Clark DVM’87 (Distinguished Service Award) and Ryan Wallace DVM’12 (Young Alumni Award) were the inaugural award winners in 2020.
Learn more about the 2021 honorees:
Distinguished Service Award
Myron Kebus MS’90, DVM’92
Myron Kebus serves as the aquaculture program veterinarian – the state’s chief fish veterinarian – with the Wisconsin Department of Agriculture, Trade and Consumer Protection.
A pioneer in developing the field of fish veterinary medicine, Kebus established Wisconsin Aquatic Veterinary Service, the first fish-only private veterinary practice in the Midwest, which catered to fish farmers, public aquariums, ornamental fish breeders and hobbyists across the country.
After many successful years running this mobile fish practice, in 1999, Kebus became Wisconsin’s first state aquaculture veterinarian. In this role, he has developed fish health-related regulations and a certification process for fish importation, movement and stocking in the state, worked to increase biosecurity standards in Wisconsin aquaculture, and guided the state’s response to the emergence of the deadly fish virus Viral Hemorrhagic Septicemia. Many states have looked to Kebus for guidance in creating their own fish health regulations.
Kebus has created training programs for veterinarians in fish health medicine and for fish farmers related to preventing the spread of disease in aquaculture. Veterinarians worldwide have taken Kebus’s online fish health course to become certified to inspect and approve fish farms.
Kebus is a founding member and past president of the American Association of Fish Veterinarians and continues to present lectures and mentor association members. He is also past chair of the American Veterinary Medical Association (AVMA) Aquatic Veterinary Medicine Committee, served as liaison for the AVMA Environmental Issues Committee, and has represented veterinarians in the American Fisheries Society Fish Health Section.
An honorary fellow in the UW School of Veterinary Medicine’s Department of Pathobiological Sciences, Kebus and Professor Emeritus Michael Collins have taught a fish health selective course for veterinary medical students since 2005. Several students credit the class with inspiring them to become fish veterinarians and helping to establish longstanding mentoring relationships with Kebus.
Young Alumni Award
Katie Kuehl DVM’12
Katie Kuehl is an assistant professor in the Veterinary Clinical Sciences department at the Washington State University (WSU) College of Veterinary Medicine. She is director of the WSU Shelter Medicine program based at Seattle Humane Society in Bellevue, Washington. In this capacity, Kuehl works side by side with fourth-year veterinary medical students to provide hands-on training in shelter medicine and community outreach.
Kuehl also leads the university’s One Health Clinic veterinary team. This partnership with the University of Washington and Neighborcare Health provides integrated medical care for people experiencing or at risk of homelessness and their pets. The interprofessional clinic allows students to work alongside other professional students (Medicine, Social Work and Public Health) and gain a fuller understanding of the relationships between human and animal health and care for the entire family unit.
In addition, Kuehl is currently conducting research related to pets and coronavirus in collaboration with the University of Washington Center for One Health Research and Washington Animal Disease Diagnostic Lab. Through this coronavirus pet testing study, researchers test animal samples for SARS-CoV-2, the virus that causes COVID-19.
Kuehl began her career as a shelter veterinarian at the Dane County Humane Society. There, helping to provide hands-on training and mentorship to UW School of Veterinary Medicine shelter medicine interns, residents and fourth-year veterinary medical students started Kuehl on her journey as an educator.
Kuehl was named the Washington State Veterinary Medical Association 2020 WSU Faculty Member of the Year, an award presented annually to faculty who have served association members with distinction. She is also president of the Board of Trustees of the Washington State Animal Health Foundation, which is preparing to launch a new access to care resource, the Vets Helping Pets Fund.
Bernard Easterday MS’58, PhD’61 and Susan Hyland MS’73, PhD’78
The Advisory Board also recognized Bernard Easterday and Susan Hyland for their integral role in establishing the University of Wisconsin School of Veterinary Medicine (SVM) and setting the stage for the school’s success. Both Easterday and Hyland are graduates of the UW–Madison Department of Veterinary Science, the precursor to the SVM’s Comparative Biomedical Sciences graduate program.
The pair was honored for their leading role in the creation of the UW SVM and their long legacy, which continues today, in advising and mentoring hundreds of aspiring veterinarians and researchers across many decades.
In 1947, the University of Wisconsin Board of Regents passed a resolution that a school of veterinary medicine should be established on campus when adequate funds were available. Proposals rode the rollercoaster of politics, but 32 years passed before the circumstances were right for this to happen. Following tremendous efforts from a range of advocates for the school’s formation, the state legislature finally established the UW School of Veterinary Medicine in July 1979.
Easterday, then a professor in the Department of Veterinary Science, where he had served as a faculty member since 1961, was asked to head up the new veterinary school. He and Hyland – at the time a recent veterinary science doctoral graduate who took on responsibility for academic affairs – were part of a founding team of individuals. Between 1979 to 1983 the group coordinated the academic planning, recruitment of faculty and staff, and facilities construction necessary for the establishment of the School of Veterinary Medicine. The first class of 80 students was admitted in 1983.
As the school’s founding dean, Easterday held this position until retiring in 1994, overseeing many notable achievements as the school continued to grow its strong international reputation in research, education and clinical care. Hyland served as the school’s first associate dean for academic affairs from 1983 to 2006, supporting students with dedication, compassion and guidance throughout and beyond the rigorous four-year DVM curriculum.