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Virginia Tech News / Articles / 2007 / 05 

In Memoriam: Veterinary College's Bob Duncan

May 5, 2007

Dr. Robert Duncan, associate professor in the Department of Biomedical Sciences and Pathobiology (DBSP) in the Virginia-Maryland Regional College of Veterinary Medicine at Virginia Tech, passed away suddenly on May 3.

Known to many in the college and university community as a congenial and engaging professional with a great enthusiasm for the outdoors, Duncan is survived by his wife Susan and ten-year old daughter Taylor.

“Dr. Bob Duncan was a very capable and highly respected veterinary pathologist, and additionally, was an excellent teacher, mentor, and role model for our students and junior faculty,” said Dr. Lud Eng, head of the DBSP. “He was both a friend and a colleague to everyone who knew him, and his absence from our college community will be grievously felt by all.”

Whether dressing up as Santa Claus for the annual Omega Tau Sigma “Pets with Santa” photo project, joking with colleagues and students while wearing one of his trademark bolo ties, participating in the annual “Relay for Life,” or working on cases in the Veterinary Teaching Hospital, Duncan was deeply engaged in many parts of community life in the VMRCVM.

After earning his undergraduate and DVM degrees from The Ohio State University in Columbus, Duncan spent several years in private practice in Pennsylvania. In 1986, he entered a combined graduate degree/clinical residency program at the University of Tennessee in Knoxville. He concluded a clinical residency in veterinary pathology and was awarded a Ph.D. in Comparative and Environmental Medicine from the University of Tennessee in 1991. He earned board certification from the American College of Veterinary Pathologists in 1993.

From 1991-1996, Duncan served as director and diagnostician of the Virginia Department of Agriculture & Consumer Services Wytheville Regional Diagnostic Laboratory.

He joined the faculty of the VMRCVM at Virginia Tech in 1996, where he has spent the last 11 years teaching veterinary pathology in the DVM professional program, clinical residency, and graduate degree programs in the biomedical and veterinary sciences. He also worked in the Veterinary Teaching Hospital’s Necropsy (animal form of human autopsy) Service, where he characterized the disease states and injuries that led to patient mortality, and the Biopsy Service, where tissue specimens and other samples were used to diagnose disease.

As a student, Duncan received a number of honors, including the C.L. Davis Foundation Award for Outstanding Scholarship in Veterinary Pathology, and the Phi Zeta award. He was also awarded the Norden Distinguished Teaching Award, which is the highest honor the college bestows for teaching excellence. He had served as faculty advisor for Omega Tau Sigma (OTS), a veterinary service organization since 1997. He was a member of the American College of Veterinary Pathologists, the American Association of Veterinary Laboratory Diagnosticians, the American Veterinary Medical Association, and the Charles Louis Davis Foundation for the Advancement of Veterinary Pathology.

The Bob Duncan Memorial Diagnostic Pathology Award has been established in the Virginia-Maryland Regional College of Veterinary Medicine in order to honor Bob's life and contributions. Donations to the memorial scholarship fund should be made out to the "Virginia Tech Foundation Inc." and on the memo line put "Bob Duncan Memorial." Forward to Dr. Frank Pearsall, director of development in the VMRCVM. For more information, call (540) 231-4259.