Peter Eyre of Blacksburg, who stepped down as the second dean in the history of the Virginia-Maryland Regional College of Veterinary Medicine (VMRCVM) in August, 2003, was recently honored by the alumni society he helped create.

The VMRCVM Alumni Society announced during reunion festivities held on the campus of Virginia Tech that they are renaming their student award "The Peter Eyre Student Leadership Award" and broadened the sponsoring base to formally include the Virginia Veterinary Medical Association and the Maryland Veterinary Foundation.

"I was honored to have been the dean of this college for so many years," said Eyre, who termed the alumni recognition as one of the most meaningful of his career. He said he was particularly touched that the award bearing his name would support student education, which was at the heart of what he worked to advance during his 45-year career.

VMRCVM Alumni Society President Bill Tyrrell, a board certified veterinary cardiologist from Leesburg, Va., announced the award during a formal reception held in the Donaldson Brown Hotel and Conference Center at Virginia Tech. Tyrrell said that the annual award would go to a Virginia student and a Maryland student who best exemplified the "character" of Peter Eyre.

Tyrrell said the students selected would go to students "who, over the four years of the DVM (Doctor of Veterinary Medicine) curriculum, have most shown concern for the well-being of the profession, as well as the college and its members, who have had a vision of service and a history of involvement in organized veterinary medicine, and who are demonstrated consensus builders possessed of tact, grace and a good sense of humor."

During the ceremony, Steven Escobar, president of the Virginia Veterinary Medical Association, praised Eyre for the role he played in building an excellent relationship between organized veterinary medicine in Virginia and the college. Mike Erskine, past-president of the Maryland Veterinary Medicine Association and current vice-president of the Maryland Veterinary Foundation, said Eyre’s "patience and personal diplomacy" also exerted a transformative effect on the Maryland association.

This is the first time that the Virginia and Maryland Veterinary Medical Associations have teamed up with the college’s alumni society to fund a scholarship at the college.

During keynote remarks shared earlier in the evening with the assembled alumni, VMRCVM Dean Gerhardt Schurig congratulated the college’s charter class on the occasion of their 20th reunion anniversary.

Schurig stressed the importance of alumni engagement with college affairs and broadly outlined plans for a goal-setting and planning process that will unfold over the next six months. Schurig said that alumni will be invited to participate in the process.

Eyre, named dean in 1985, served for 18 years before announcing his resignation from the top post as a result of health problems. He continues to serve as a faculty member in the college’s Department of Biomedical Sciences and Pathobiology.

Lynn Young, the college’s director of alumni and student affairs, was also honored by the alumni society with a special resolution that recognized the special role she has played in providing leadership and support for the organization.

The Virginia-Maryland Regional College of Veterinary Medicine (VMRCVM) is a two-state, three-campus professional school operated by the land-grant universities of Virginia Tech in Blacksburg and the University of Maryland at College Park. Its flagship facilities, based at Virginia Tech, include the Veterinary Teaching Hospital, which treats more than 40,000 animals annually. Other campuses include the Marion duPont Scott Equine Medical Center in Leesburg, Va., and the Avrum Gudelsky Veterinary Center at College Park, home of the Center for Government and Corporate Veterinary Medicine. The VMRCVM annually enrolls approximately 500 Doctor of Veterinary Medicine and graduate students, is a leading biomedical and clinical research center, and provides professional continuing education services for veterinarians practicing throughout the two states.