Merck Animal Health and the American Association of Bovine Practitioners (AABP) recently presented Sheila McGuirk, DVM, MS, PhD, DACVIM, with the Mentor of the Year Award as a result of her commitment to mentoring the next generations of bovine veterinarians. Each year, the award is given out at the AABP Annual Conference to recognize an individual who has played a role in educating, supporting and advancing the careers of future bovine veterinarians.
“Dr. McGuirk’s contributions to veterinary medicine and her ongoing passion as a resource for students is unparalleled,” said Norman Stewart, DVM, livestock and technical services manager for Merck Animal Health. “Dr. McGuirk has made a tremendous impact on the lives of countless veterinary medical students, colleagues, fellow veterinarians and dairy farmer clients. She is a role model, a tremendous educator and a true leader.”
McGuirk retired in February 2016 after 33 years on the University of Wisconsin-Madison School of Veterinary Medicine (UW SVM) faculty. She is a key reason for the school’s international reputation for expertise in dairy cattle health, according to Ken Nordlund, emeritus clinical professor of food animal production medicine at UW SVM.
“McGuirk has made outstanding contributions to the University of Wisconsin in all areas of teaching, outreach, service and research,” Nordlund said of his former colleague. “She was one of the founding faculty of the School of Veterinary Medicine and helped shape the curriculum and culture of what has become one of the country’s outstanding veterinary schools.”
McGuirk is known worldwide for her contributions to dairy calf health and bovine internal medicine. However, it is her caring and encouraging personality that made her such an effective mentor, according to Jennifer Rowntree, DVM, a technical services veterinarian for Vita Plus in Madison, Wisconsin.
“She takes advantage of every single opportunity to teach and provide guidance,” said Rowntree. “As a UW SVM alumna, I had many opportunities to learn dairy cattle medicine from Dr. McGuirk. She has the unique ability to make both peers and pupils feel empowered to make a difference.”
As a result of her dedication and service to the dairy industry, McGuirk has received countless other awards, including the Carl J. Norden Distinguished Teaching Award in 1990 and 1994 and the AABP Award of Excellence in 1998. She was named Kansas State University’s Legend in Academic Medicine in 2010; Wisconsin Veterinary Medicine Veterinarian of the Year in 2000 and 2016; and World Dairy Expo Industry Person of the Year in 2012.
“Dr. McGuirk has guided countless veterinary students toward their career goals,” said Fred Gingrich II, DVM, executive vice president of AABP. “Many of those students exceeded their goals because of Dr. McGuirk’s ability to recognize their potential and provide the encouragement they needed. She is a most deserving candidate to join the long list of other Mentor of the Year recipients.”
McGuirk is an active member of numerous veterinary organizations, including AABP, and is the twelfth recipient of the Mentor of the Year Award, which was instituted in 2007. She completed her Doctor of Veterinary Medicine (DVM) degree from the University of Georgia in 1977. In 1981, she earned her master’s in clinical sciences from The Ohio State University, followed by a doctorate in physiology and pharmacology in 1985. She became American College of Veterinary Internal Medicine (ACVIM) board certified in 1982 and joined the faculty at the University of Wisconsin School of Veterinary Medicine in 1983.