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Farewells: Faculty retirees include poultry vet, cardiologist and equine fertility expert

June 12, 2009

Commencement season is also a time of farewells to retiring faculty members. This year three professors have made the transition to professor emeritus--a poultry veterinarian, a cardiologist and an equine fertility expert.

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Patricia S. Wakenell

Dr. Patricia Wakenell earned her D.V.M. from Michigan State University in 1977 and after spending a few years in private practice she returned to the university to earn her PhD in pathology and complete her pathology residency.  Dr. Wakenell joined the ranks of the faculty at Davis in 1990 in the Department of Population Health and Reproduction.  She retired from the University of California just this past year and moved on to join the faculty at Purdue.  During her time at Davis Dr. Wakenell was an important cornerstone in the School’s undergraduate DVM and graduate programs in avian science and poultry medicine, receiving consistently high rankings from her students.  Her research interests were in the clinical pathology of domestic poultry and avian virology, as well as vaccine research, including in ovo vaccine research.  She served as Chief of the Poultry Medicine Service.

Dr. Wakenell is a Diplomate of the American College of Veterinary Pathologists and served as president of the American Association of Avian Pathologists and the Western Poultry Disease Conference.  She was the enthusiastic organizer of the poultry hatching demonstrations for Picnic Day, one of the most popular demonstrations at the veterinary school.

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William P. Thomas

Dr. Bill Thomas earned his D.V.M. from the University of California, Davis in 1971 and after finishing an internship at the University of Pennsylvania, he completed his residency in medicine and cardiology at Davis. He joined the school faculty in 1977. During his 32- year career in the Department of Medicine and Epidemiology, his research focused on the diagnosis and treatment of cardiac diseases, mainly in small animals. In recent years he has centered his creative activity on the use of ultrasound techniques for assessment of cardiac anomalies. Dr. Thomas is a Diplomate in Cardiology of the American College of Veterinary Internal Medicine and has served as president of the American College of Veterinary Internal Medicine. He is also a member of the Academy of Veterinary Cardiology and the American Society of Echocardiography.

Dr. Thomas has developed a reputation as one of the world’s foremost authorities in canine and feline cardiology. He served at length as Chief of Cardiology at the William R. Pritchard Veterinary Medical Teaching Hospital. His legacy in cardiology will live on in the individuals he has trained.


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Irwin K. Liu

Dr. Irwin Liu earned his D.V.M. from Kansas State University in 1963. He served as a Captain in the U.S. Air Force in Mildenhall, England prior to settling in Davis to earn his Master of Preventive Veterinary Medicine degree and a Ph.D. in virology. After completing a residency and internship, he joined the faculty in the Department of Population Health and Reproduction.

During his 33-year career as a theriogenologist, his research has focused on the causes of infertility and subfertility in the mare. He also developed immunocontraception in wild horses to safely limit their numbers in constrained habitats. He has served as Chief of the Equine Reproduction Service and participated on many school and campus committees. In recognition of his career-long dedication to teaching, Dr. Liu was awarded the 2005 School of Veterinary Medicine Faculty Teaching Award. He is highly respected nationally and internationally for his work in equine reproduction. In 2007 he was honored by the Society of Theriogenology with the Dr. David E. Bartlett Award, the highest award in theriogenology, for his research and contributions to the field of animal reproduction.