Dr. Gerhardt Schurig, dean of the Virginia-Maryland Regional College of Veterinary Medicine at Virginia Tech, assumed the presidency of the Association of American Veterinary Medical Colleges on July 18 at the association's 2011 Summer Meeting in St. Louis.

"The AAVMC knows that Dean Schurig brings wisdom, a broad perspective, experience, and astute judgment to this important role,” said Dr. Marguerite Pappaioanou, the association’s executive director. "The entire staff and the board of directors look forward to working with him in the coming year."

Schurig was appointed the third dean in the history of the veterinary college in 2004. In his time as dean, he has led an ongoing expansion of the college’s main campus in Blacksburg and directed its evolution to maintain relevancy and excellence in meeting expectations of society.

"Society holds practitioners of veterinary medicine in high esteem, and those of us in academic veterinary medicine face the challenge of balancing the need for efficient and forward looking change with the need to maintain the best practices that make it such a great profession,” Schurig said.

“Veterinary medical education instills a uniquely valuable, comparative approach to medicine and we need to continue on that path -- but we also need to pursue a vision that will enable us to progress and adapt to the future,” he added.  "I look forward to working with our member institutions and stakeholders to achieve this goal."

In addition to serving as dean, Schurig is a professor and veterinary immunologist in the Department of Biomedical Sciences and Pathobiology and is internationally renowned for his work in developing the Strain RB-51 vaccine against bovine brucellosis, a zoonotic disease that causes reproductive problems in cattle and undulant fever in humans. Schurig joined the Virginia Tech faculty in 1978 previously served as chair of the Department of Veterinary Biosciences, associate dean for research and graduate studies, director of Virginia Tech’s Institute for Biomedical and Public Health Sciences, and as a senior researcher and former director of the Center for Molecular Medicine and Infectious Diseases.

Schurig earned his Doctorate in Veterinary Medicine in 1970 from the University of Chile. After earning a master’s degree and doctorate in immunology from Cornell University, he spent two years working in the department of veterinary science at the University of Wisconsin-Madison. He is a member of the American Association of the Advancement of Science, the American Association of Veterinary Immunologists, and the American Society of Microbiology, among many others. He has received several major teaching and research awards, including the 1986 Beecham Award for Research Excellence.

The Association of American Veterinary Medical Colleges is a non-profit membership organization working to protect and improve the health and welfare of animals, people and the environment by generating new knowledge and preparing the high quality veterinary workforce needed to meet continually changing societal demands for veterinary expertise. The association provides leadership for and promotes excellence in academic veterinary medicine to prepare the veterinary workforce with the scientific knowledge and skills required to meet societal needs through the protection of animal health, the relief of animal suffering, the conservation of animal resources, the promotion of public health, and the advancement of medical knowledge. 

Written in part by the Association of American Veterinary Medical Colleges.

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