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Dr. Frederick A. Murphy Awarded $100,000 Prize as Penn Vet World Award Recipient

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March 17, 2009

PHILADELPHIA, PA – Dr. Frederick A. Murphy has been selected as the 2009 recipient of the Penn Vet World Leadership Award. Dr. Murphy is the James W. McLaughlin Professor in Residence, Department of Pathology at the University of Texas Medical Branch at Galveston. The Penn Vet World Leadership Award is given annually to a veterinarian who has dramatically changed the practice and image of the profession and substantially influenced the lives and careers of others. The award provides the recipient with $100,000 in unrestricted funding, the largest monetary award in veterinary medicine, underwritten by the Vernon and Shirley Hill Foundation.

"As an internationally acclaimed authority in comparative virology, Dr. Murphy is a pioneering researcher, respected adviser in health policy and outstanding spokesperson for the veterinary profession, which has led to his unparalleled contributions to veterinary medicine," said Dr. Joan C. Hendricks, the Gilbert S. Kahn Dean of Veterinary Medicine. "We are proud to recognize his vast and impressive achievements with this year's Penn Vet World Leadership Award." Dr. Murphy’s greatest impact on the future of the veterinary profession is his expertise in the field of infectious disease; in particular, Dr. Murphy has played a  leadership role in viral pathogenesis and has articulated clearly the role of animal pathogens in new and emerging diseases.

"I really cannot believe that this great honor has come to me," said Dr. Murphy. "Three thoughts come immediately to mind: First, I thank Vernon and Shirley Hill for their kindness and incredible generosity; I also thank the committee members and the faculty of the University of Pennsylvania School of Veterinary Medicine. Second, I would like everyone to know that I share this honor with my family. Everything that has been good in my life is grounded in my family life. Third, at a time like this, I would like everyone to know how proud I am of the veterinary medical profession and the veterinarians I have known around the country and around the world. They are the salt of the earth. In thinking of all my colleagues in academic veterinary medicine, public health, international health and comparative medicine, I feel that my colleagues are serving the public interest very well, indeed—serving the needs of animal health, human health and environmental/ecological health. I am lucky to be living my life among these men and women."

Dr. Murphy earned his PhD from UC Davis in 1964 and received the UC Davis School of Veterinary Medicine's Alumni Achievement Award in 1989. Distinguished Professor of Virology and Dean Emeritus of the School of Veterinary Medicine, he was the sole veterinarian elected in 1999 to the Institute of Medicine, the medical science arm of the National Academy of Sciences. As dean from 1991-1996, Murphy guided reorganization of the school's departments and established centers of excellence within the school to encourage faculty collaboration based on species interests and specific disciplines.

The Penn Vet World Leadership Award will be presented Monday, April 20, 2009, in Philadelphia, PA, on the Penn Vet campus. Also honored that day will be two student recipients of the annual Penn Vet Student Inspiration Award. The students will each receive $100,000, the highest unrestricted veterinary cash award in the world. The student awards are also provided by the Hill Foundation.

"Shirley and I are pleased to support the prestigious Penn Vet World Leadership Award, which recognizes the outstanding individuals whose achievements have significantly advanced both the veterinary profession and humanity," said Vernon Hill. "Dr. Murphy truly exemplifies excellence in the critical global health arena. We are honored to underwrite this award to help advance Dr. Murphy’s important research."

Dr. Murphy has made significant contributions to benefit society and advance the veterinary profession through his research work on viruses impacting animals and humans; highlighting the critical importance of new and emerging diseases of animal origin as the major cause of these new illnesses; leadership at national and international levels, publications, speaking engagements around the world; and mentoring and teaching of young scholars.

The selection jury for the Penn Vet World Award was led by Alan Kelly, BVSc, MRCVS, PhD, dean emeritus of the University of Pennsylvania School of Veterinary Medicine. Other committee members were Leland Carmichael, John Olin Professor of Virology (ret.), Baker Institute for Animal Health, College of Veterinary Medicine, Cornell University; Ron DeHaven, executive vice president, American Veterinary Medicine Association; George Gunn, BVSc, MRCVS, PhD, CEO, Novartis Animal Health; Richard Halliwell, dean emeritus, Royal Dick School of Veterinary Medicine, Edinburgh, Scotland; Shimon Harrus, DVM, PhD, DECVCP, director, Koret School of Veterinary Medicine, Hebrew University of Jerusalem; Leo Jeffcott, dean, University of Sydney, Faculty of Veterinary Science, Sydney, Australia; Lonnie King, DVM, director, National Center for Zoonotic, Vector Borne and Enteric Diseases, CDC; Andrew Rowan, executive vice president and CEO, Humane Society International; and last year’s award recipient, Bernard Vallat, DVM, director general, OIE (World Organisation for Animal Health), Paris, France.

The news item above is based on a news release originally distributed by the University of Pennsylvania.