Three Honored With UW School of Veterinary Medicine 2023 Alumni Awards

The University of Wisconsin–Madison School of Veterinary Medicine (SVM) Alumni Association has recognized three graduates with 2023 alumni awards for achievements in advancing the veterinary medical profession, animal and human health, and humanity.

The awards were presented at a celebration event on November 11 at the School of Veterinary Medicine.

The UW School of Veterinary Medicine Alumni Advisory Board launched the awards program in 2019 to recognize graduates who have made significant contributions to society and whose accomplishments, affiliations and careers honor the legacy of excellence at the school. Award categories recognize both DVM and graduate degree program alumni.

The Alumni Advisory Board has since grown into the UW SVM Alumni Association (SVMAA), established in July 2022 to support the school’s advancement through alumni engagement.

Learn more about the 2023 award recipients:

SVMAA Young Alumni Award

Dr. William Frahm-Gilles

Since graduation in 2013, Dr. William Frahm-Gilles has been focused on improving access to veterinary care for vulnerable populations and incorporating the spectrum of care into veterinary education. This focus began prior to graduation when the first iteration of WisCARES was created with fellow SVM students, but after graduation Dr. Gilles had the opportunity to take the reins and guide WisCARES in its progression to a full-service stand-alone clinic under the umbrella of the UW-SVM.  He guided the integration of student education on the delivery of a spectrum of care and culturally competent communication into the fabric of the WisCARES clinic as well as creating an environment for them to experience interprofessional collaboration with human support services.

In his current position as owner and medical director of Access Veterinary Care, a stand-alone urgent care clinic in Minneapolis, Dr. Gilles continues to explore new and innovative models for care delivery and expanding accessible veterinary care through the for-profit sector. At Access, he continues to mentor DVM candidates through clinical experiences in accessible veterinary care during 4th year electives and through an emerging partnership with the UMN community medicine and accessible veterinary care opportunities.  In addition, Dr. Gilles has been invited to speak at multiple national meetings on the topics of access to veterinary care and spectrum of care in education, including the most recent conference for the American Association of Veterinary Medical Colleges in March 2023.

SVMAA Distinguished Service Award (DVM)

Dr. Ruthanne Chun

Dr. Chun is a 1991 graduate of the UW School of Veterinary Medicine. She completed an internship at Cornell and a residency in Comparative Oncology at Purdue. She is a Clinical Professor and serves as section head of Oncology and Chief of Large Animal Services at the SVM. She served as the Associate Dean for Clinical Affairs and Hospital Director for the SVM from 2010 until 2021. She is the Director of the Wisconsin Companion Animal Resources, Education, and Social Services (WisCARES) program. WisCARES is an interprofessional program housed within a veterinary medical clinic. In 2021, Ruthanne received the LaMarr Billups Community-University Engagement Award and was admitted to the National Academies of Practice in Veterinary Medicine as a Distinguished Fellow. In 2022, Ruthanne was named an Outstanding Women of Color at UW-Madison. She is a practicing veterinary medical oncologist, and an educator with a passion for teaching communication skills and cultural humility.


SVMAA Distinguished Service Award (Graduate Program)

Dr. Ken Waller

Dr. Waller received both his DVM and MS from the SVM in 2007. His work in ultrasound of dairy cow mammary glands has given him a national and international reputation as an expert in this field. He provides education of veterinarians, dairy cattle exhibitors and industrial representatives, and the public in support of dairy cattle ethics, animal welfare, and research related to animal welfare regionally, nationally, and internationally. He also provides extensive continuing education in ultrasound, demonstrating his mastery of the modality and passion for educating veterinarians. Dr. Waller has provided significant support to committees of the professional organization, American College of Veterinary Radiology (ACVR).

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