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Farewell to Retiring Faculty

May 22, 2015

May 22, 2014

The School of Veterinary Medicine community offers farewell and thanks to six faculty members who retire this year. These individuals have embodied excellence in teaching, dedication to academic veterinary medicine and scholarly research accomplishments that are hallmarks of the school.

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Alan Buckpitt

Alan Buckpitt, M.S. ’73, Ph.D. ’75, Professor of Molecular Biosciences

Buckpitt worked at UC Irvine and the National Institutes of Health before joining the school’s faculty in 1985. As an internationally recognized expert in pulmonary toxicology, he has a joint appointment in the UC Davis School of Medicine’s Department of Public Health Sciences. Buckpitt's research contributes to our knowledge of human health, particularly in the complex area of pulmonary toxicology. He collaborated on pioneering work at the California Regional Primate Research Center in bringing a new understanding of the relationship between air pollution, common allergies and asthma.  He has also focused on the pulmonary toxicity of naphthalene, a polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbon that is widespread in the environment and of growing concern.

One colleague described Buckpitt's research in the past 10 years as having contributed a "fundamentally new perspective" to our understanding of varying responses to therapeutic drugs or toxic compounds, depending on species, individual respiratory systems and different cell types within the lung. Buckpitt served on the school’s Curriculum Committee both as member and chair, as department chair, and as an advisor for the Pharmacology and Toxicology Graduate Group. He received the 2000 Pfizer Animal Health Award for Research Excellence.

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Richard Chin

Richard Chin, DVM ’83, MPVM ’84, Dipl. ACPV, Professor of Clinical Diagnostic Veterinary Medicine 

Chin joined UC Davis as a veterinary medical officer in 1986 at the facility that later became the California Animal Health and Food Safety Laboratory (CAHFS) system. An avian disease specialist, Chin served as branch chief for the CAHFS lab in Fresno for 17 years before that branch was consolidated with the Tulare lab.

He re-established poultry diagnostic services in Tulare, while maintaining an active caseload, managing client communications and engaging in outreach through a variety of venues. Chin has contributed significantly to the knowledge of numerous avian diseases, including being one of the first to recognize and identify a novel infection in turkeys—Ornithobacterium rhinotracheale

Chin received the 2012 Lasher-Bottorff Award from the American Association of Avian Pathologists in recognition of outstanding contributions to national poultry health programs in the preceding decade. He has held leadership positions in the Western Poultry Disease Conference, the American Association of Avian Pathologists, and the American Veterinary Medical Association. He was also named the 2014 Scientist of the Year by the Pacific Egg and Poultry Association.

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Thomas Farver

Thomas Farver, M.S. ’66, Ph.D. ’72, Professor of Biostatistics

Farver joined the school in 1977 where he combined his master’s in zoology with a Ph.D. in biostatistics. During his tenure at UC Davis, he taught approximately 860 students in the Masters of Preventive Veterinary Medicine (MPVM) program and approximately 246 students in the Masters of Public Health program. He also instructed students in the Graduate Groups of Epidemiology, Comparative Pathology (now Integrative Pathobiology) and Nutritional Biology. 

His research initially focused on sampling and multivariate statistical methods and more recently has focused on loglinear modeling. Farver is noted as an author on close to 200 peer-reviewed publications.Among numerous leadership roles on campus, Farver served as the Director of the MPVM program from 1991 to 1994. Through the years, approximately 50 percent of the MPVM students have been international students so Farver has taught veterinary epidemiologists from around the world. He considers himself blessed to have never missed a lecture due to a health or any other problem. Farver’s dedication to teaching earned him the school’s 1997 Faculty Teaching Award. 

Farver takes great pride in riding his bicycle to campus for more than 38 years and never owning a University parking permit. He estimates that the miles ridden going to and from work is the equivalent to three times around the earth at the equator.

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Geraldine Hunt

Geraldine Hunt, BVSc. ’83, Ph.D. ’89, MVetClinStud ’92, Professor of Small Animal Surgery 

Hunt joined the UC Davis faculty in 2009 after serving as director of the University Veterinary Centre in Sydney, Australia. She is also a Diplomate of the Australian College of Veterinary Scientists (Small Animal Surgery). In her short time at the school, Hunt was actively engaged in the planning, implementation, and teaching of the new professional curriculum. She helped lead the Clinical Foundations and Comparative Medicine blocks, bringing together a diverse team of anesthetists, surgeons, criticalists, radiologists and clinical pathologists. Over the past year, Hunt also served as chair of the faculty.

Her dedication to teaching earned her the school’s 2014 Zoetis Distinguished Teaching Award. She was recognized for her passion, enthusiasm, leadership, and innovation in teaching DVM students, as well as her leadership in rebuilding the Small Animal Surgical Service.

Throughout her career, most of which took place in Australia, Hunt received numerous accolades, including the 2000 Distinguished Scientific Contribution Award from the Australian Small Animal Veterinary Association, and the 1996 Ian Clunies Ross Memorial Award for contribution to Veterinary Science in Australia.

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Richard Nelson

Richard Nelson, DVM ’79, DACVIM, Professor of Medicine and Epidemiology

Nelson returned to UC Davis, where he completed his residency, to join the faculty in 1989. During his tenure, Nelson at various times served as Director of the Small Animal Clinic, Chief of Internal Medicine Service, and Chair of the Department of Medicine and Epidemiology. He also served as Chair of the Curriculum Committee.

Nelson’s expertise on canine and feline diabetes mellitus has significantly impacted the management of diabetic dogs and cats. He has published over 120 peer-reviewed journal articles and more than 60 book chapters. An ambassador for academic veterinary medicine, Nelson has trained and mentored more than 50 resident veterinarians in internal medicine and lectured at continuing education events throughout the world. 

Among numerous awards, Nelson received the 2010 Pfizer Distinguished Teaching Award, the 2012 American College of Veterinary Internal Medicine Robert W. Kirk Award for Professional Excellence, the 2012 British Small Animal Veterinary Association Bourgelat Award, and the school’s 2012 Alumni Achievement Award. In 2011, he was nominated clinician of the year by his students. He is regarded as a highly respected and passionate clinician who serves as an inspiration to students, residents and colleagues.