Peter Eyre, dean of the Virginia-Maryland Regional College of Veterinary Medicine (VMRCVM) since 1985, has announced his immediate resignation from the deanship for personal health reasons. Virginia Tech Provost Dr. Mark McNamee has appointed Associate Dean for Research and Graduate Studies Dr. Gerhardt Schurig interim dean.

"Peter Eyre has played an historic role in building a nationally recognized veterinary college and helping Virginia Tech develop an array of important new biomedical health initiatives," McNamee said. "His exemplary scholarship, prodigious work ethic, and sense of diplomacy have helped him lead in a way that invited partnerships and moved us all forward. We are profoundly grateful for his contributions and accomplishments and wish him well."

Since his appointment, Eyre has presided over the development of a $32 million enterprise that has graduated more than 1500 veterinarians and established a national reputation for excellence in public practice veterinary medicine. The VMRCVM is a unique two-state, three-campus professional school that is jointly operated by the land-grant universities of Virginia Tech in Blacksburg and the University of Maryland at College Park.

Eyre presided over the creation of the College Park, Maryland-based Center for Government and Corporate Veterinary Medicine and led a series of initiatives that fortified the political and economic underpinnings of the partnership between Virginia and Maryland in the late 1980s. He is also credited with building strong working relationships with organized veterinary medical associations and guiding the development of the Marion duPont Scott Equine Medical Center in Leesburg.

Recently, he led efforts to integrate the veterinary college as a working partner with Tech's College of Engineering and Wake Forest University in the hybrid School of Biomedical Engineering. He has also helped craft a major affiliation for the VMRCVM with the university's new Institute for Biomedical and Public Health Sciences (IBPHS).

Eyre is presently serving as president of the Association of American Veterinary Colleges (AAVMC) and has resigned that position simultaneously with his deanship. He served for several years on the AAVMC board, he has worked on the American Veterinary Medical Association's Council on Government Relations and provided leadership for many other professional associations. He is a nationally recognized advocate for curricular reform in veterinary education and has spoken frequently on the topic at forums and meetings around the nation.

Eyre is a recipient of the Norden Award for Distinguished Teaching and the Sigma Psi Award for Excellence in Research. He has been honored for outstanding leadership by the Virginia Veterinary Medical Association, the Maryland Veterinary Medical Association, and the Blue Ridge Chapter of the Public Relations Society of America. Prior to assuming the deanship of the VMRCVM, Eyre served as Chairman of the Department of Biomedical Sciences at the University of Guelph's Ontario Veterinary College in Ontario Canada, where he also served as associate director of the Canadian Centre for Toxicology.

He holds a BVMS degree, the MRCVS diploma in veterinary medicine, and B.Sc. and Ph.D. degrees in pharmacology, all from the University of Edinburgh in Scotland.

As a biomedical researcher, Eyre has been responsible for the acquisition and completion of more than $1.2 million in sponsored grants and contracts, and has authored 350 scientific publications, including more than 200 in refereed journals.

Schurig, a veterinary immunologist and former director of the Center for Molecular Medicine and Infectious Diseases (CMMID), was named associate dean for research and graduate studies in early 2001.

"As a founding faculty member in the college, Gerhardt has a broad sense of the college's heritage and aspirations," McNamee said. "Moreover, he's been at the forefront of our university's efforts to develop vision and capacity in biomedical sciences research. We're fortunate he's available to serve at this important time in the history of the college and the university."

Since joining the faculty in 1978, he has established an international reputation for his work in developing vaccines against bovine brucellosis, a zoonotic disease that causes reproductive problems in cattle and undulant fever in humans. The RB-51 brucellosis vaccine he developed has become the global "gold standard" in bovine brucellosis control and played a major role in the virtual eradication of the cattle disease in the United States. Most recently, he was appointed to lead the university's new Institute for Biomedical and Public Health Sciences.

Schurig earned his DVM degree in 1970 from the University of Chile. After earning M.S. and Ph.D. degrees in immunology from Cornell University, Schurig spent two years working in the department of veterinary science at the University of Wisconsin at Madison. He has directed the college's World Health Organization Collaborating Center for Veterinary Education in Management and Public Health, served as head of the college's department of veterinary biosciences, and he helped create CMMID 1987. During his seven-year tenure as head of that center, it established itself as a major research and development center focused on creating vaccines and improved diagnostic tests for several economically significant infectious animal diseases.

Schurig is a member of numerous professional societies, including the American Association for the Advancement of Science, the American Association of Veterinary Immunologists, and the American Society for Microbiology. He has received several major teaching and research awards, including the 1986 Beecham Award for Research Excellence.

McNamee said a national search will begin immediately for a new VMRCVM dean.