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Wildlife Health Center Renamed in Honor of Karen C. Drayer

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From left: Dean Lairmore, Karen Drayer, Jonna Mazet, Phil Drayer and Dean Emeritus Bennie Osburn

November 2013

The holidays came a little early for Karen Drayer this year. On Wednesday evening, she entered VM3B anticipating a visit with researchers at the school’s wildlife health center, a program that she and her husband Phil helped guide from its start more than 15 years ago. But the lobby was filled with familiar faces holding champagne glasses and ready to toast her in celebration of the newly renamed Karen C. Drayer Wildlife Health Center.

Karen’s involvement with the UC Davis School of Veterinary Medicine began with a passion for pets and wildlife—in particular sea otters. She was attracted to the school’s work with otter health in the Monterey Bay and in 1998, she and Phil partnered with the school to provide much-needed funds and as Dean Lairmore put it, “the genesis of a vision,” to develop the Wildlife Health Center.

Dean emeritus Bennie Osburn was on hand to offer a few reflections on the early years of the center and thanked the Drayers for their long-term commitment to wildlife health research. Phil Drayer expressed that he valued the faculty and staff at the center who apply research to real-world problems and could think of no better way of honoring his wife and her many years of dedication to wildlife health and rehabilitation than through naming the center after her.

"Karen’s enduring service, dedication, passion, and commitment to the multidisciplinary work we do through the Wildlife Health Center make her the perfect namesake,” said Director Jonna Mazet. “We’re grateful for the friendship, guidance, and financial support of the Drayers whose involvement has had a significant impact on the health of wildlife around the world.”