When great ideas meet reality, it takes a "can-do" spirit to achieve lasting progress. And maintaining great service throughout the cycle of innovation tests the mettle of people who focus on efficiency, quality, and compassion. We honor those who make our college great.
PEOPLE: THE HEART OF THE CVM
Eileen Kuhlmann didn’t grow up on a farm. But there was one next door to her family’s house in Alexandria, Minnesota, so she was exposed to animals at an early age. The neighbors had a dairy farm—later turned into a pig farm—and boarded horses.
“It wasn’t uncommon to look out the window and see a mare in our front yard,” Kuhlmann recalls. “They would get loose and we would assist in getting them back into the barn or paddock.”
Not surprisingly, Kuhlmann developed an affinity for animals. After earning a degree in food science from the University of Minnesota and a brief stint working as a sales assistant for a small food brokerage firm, she got a job at the U managing the office of PigCHAMP, a swine-management software project. In 1996, she participated in the U’s MAST International Agricultural Exchange Program, visiting Ireland to learn more about sheep farming and Australia to work at a 600-cow rotary dairy.
“I’m a curious person,” Kuhlmann says. “I like to know things. I like to learn about things.”
For the past two decades, Kuhlmann has held a number of positions at the College of Veterinary Medicine (CVM). She currently works as a lab coordinator, teaching students clinical skills.
“I know I’ve been successful if, at the end, students tell me they can do any of the procedures without even thinking,” she says. “I like getting to know the students. I really find them interesting and I learn a lot from them.”
When she’s not in her lab at the U, Kuhlmann can be found rummaging in her vegetable garden or fishing on a lake. She regularly travels from Rosemount, where she lives, to see her mother in Alexandria and her brother and sister in northern Minnesota. Back at home, she enjoys being in the kitchen. Her specialty is baking—and her skill at mixing flour, butter, sugar, and spice is well-known to many CVM students.
“More than a few generations of students are familiar with my cinnamon coffee cake,” she says with a chuckle.