Virginia General Assembly Recognizes Former VMRCVM Dean Eyre
February 2, 2004
In an event that honored an 18-year career at the helm of the Virginia-Maryland Regional College of Veterinary Medicine (VMRCVM), former Dean Peter Eyre of Blacksburg, Va., was formally recognized in the Virginia State Capitol with a joint resolution of commendation passed and presented by the Virginia House of Delegates and Senate.
Shortly after the Assembly was convened on January 22nd, Delegate Jim Shuler was granted the floor to recognize members of the Virginia Veterinary Medical Association gathered in Richmond for the organization's annual legislative workday. Shuler was given permission to conduct a "center-aisle" presentation and invited the Virginia Tech alumni serving in the House of Delegates to join him as he called Peter Eyre forward.
With Virginia Tech President Charles Steger, Maryland Deputy Secretary of Agriculture John Brooks, and long-time administrative assistant Joyce Morgan at his side, Eyre stepped forward to face Speaker of the House William Howell while Shuler addressed the chamber.
Shuler spoke of Eyre's 18 years of exemplary service as the second dean of the VMRCVM, and the important contributions that the college makes to a healthy Commonwealth of Virginia. After Shuler's remarks, the formal resolution of commendation was read by House of Delegates Clerk Bruce Jamerson. Eyre received a 15-second standing ovation from everyone gathered in the Virginia House of Delegates.
During a luncheon for close friends and colleagues that followed in a local Richmond restaurant, Eyre said it was the most spectacular recognition he had ever received.
"This is so special," he said, expressing gratitude for Shuler's leadership role in the recognition. "It's been a privilege to work in the Commonwealth of Virginia. What a privilege it has been to be a part of the Virginia Tech community."
Virginia Tech President Charles W. Steger praised Eyre for the scholarship, leadership, wisdom and sense of humor he brought to the task of building the college after he was recruited as dean in 1985. Invoking a metaphor, Steger said that Eyre had inherited a "struggling adolescent" of an institution and guided its development into that of a "promising young adult."
Dr. G. Frederick Fregin, who retired in 2003 after 20 years as the founding director of the Marion duPont Scott Equine Medical Center spoke of the special role that Eyre played in stabilizing and fostering the development of the Leesburg facility. "He was my mentor and my model," said Fregin, who now resides in Texas. "I always followed his lead. He was good counsel."
Sumpter Priddy, former president of the Virginia Veterinary Medical Association and long-time Richmond lobbyist recalled the struggle to found the school in the 1970’s and congratulated Eyre for his role in turning it into what it is today.
A framed copy of the General Assembly resolution was presented to Eyre and another was presented to the college for permanent display.
Eyre served as dean of the Virginia-Maryland Regional College of Veterinary Medicine and professor of pharmacology from 1985 to 2003. His research and teaching has focused on the autonomic nervous system, respiratory pharmacology and hypersensitivity. Eyre is president of the Association of American Veterinary Medical Colleges, and is a member of the American Veterinary Medical Association, Virginia Veterinary Medical Association, Maryland Veterinary Medical Association, and the American Academy of Veterinary Pharmacology & Therapeutics. He received two bachelor's degrees and a Ph.D. from the University of Edinburgh.
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 other graduate students, is a leading biomedical and clinical research center, and provides professional continuing education services for veterinarians practicing throughout the two states.