Alumni Tales

College news

Pat Redig retires after 40+ years of service to raptors

Pat Redig holding an eagleThe Raptor Center’s founder Pat Redig, DVM, PhD, is retiring. Redig cofounded The Raptor Center (TRC) at the University of Minnesota in 1974. Under his leadership, TRC became the world’s leading organization committed to the health and medical care of raptors. Redig developed orthopedic treatments for raptors that are acknowledged as best practices by the veterinary community and used worldwide. He also was a key leader of the restoration and recovery of the peregrine falcon population in the Midwest, and has been a tireless advocate in the effort to eliminate lead exposure in bald eagles.

Redig has spent the better part of 44 years committing his professional life to the care and conservation of raptors as well as the training of others in this pursuit. When he retires in June, Redig’s inspirational dedication to TRC will total 16,071 days.

Alumnus elected Regent

College of Veterinary Medicine (CVM) alumnus Randy Simonson is the newest member of the University of Minnesota Board of Regents. He earned his PhD from the CVM in 1981 and is a veterinary microbiologist and entrepreneur from Worthington, Minn. Simonson joins the Board immediately and will represent Minnesota’s first congressional district.

Seeking cancer solutions in the immune system

Kristin Snyder, a veterinary student at the College of Veterinary Medicine, has received a Howard Hughes Medical Research Fellows award for $43,000, funded by the Burroughs Wellcome Fund. She will use the award to study cancer immunotherapy in the lab of Bruce Walcheck, PhD, for 2018-2019.

Read the whole story

Kristin Snyder and her cat PeanutKristin Snyder and her cat, Peanut. Photo by Nathan Pasch.

Doubling down on diversity and inclusion

Rae Richardson and Laura MolgaardLaura Molgaard, DVM, Associate Dean of Academic and Student Affairs and Rae Richardson

The College of Veterinary Medicine’s Diversity and Inclusion Committee (DNIC) has put forward an actionable plan to improve diversity and inclusion around the College. The plan was developed by the committee after considering multifaceted and extensive input from college faculty, staff, and students. It has three main goals for the college: to diversify organizational composition, to foster an inclusive culture, and to build an inclusive organizational reputation.

The DNIC recently acknowledged those who are developing the capacity of the CVM to celebrate, support, and realize the value of diversity and inclusion. On May 18, Education Day, the DNIC awarded one faculty member, one staff member, and one student with the inaugural Diversity and Inclusion Awards.

The winners—Larissa Minicucci, DVM, MPH, associate professor in the CVM; Jessica McElmury, supervisor of the Primary Care Department; and fourth year veterinary student Rae Richardson—were each awarded a $1,000 stipend. “While the competition may have been close, each of the winners had clear and concrete examples of helping to create a more supportive environment here in the college,” says Dawn Foster, administrative director in the Veterinary and Biomedical Sciences Department and cochair of the DNIC.

A leading college, a leading student

Sarah Neuser, ’19 DVM, ascended to president of the Student American Veterinary Medical Association (SAVMA) following the induction ceremony in Philadelphia on March 17. Neuser began her work as president-elect of SAVMA  in March 2017.

Read the whole story

Larissa Minicucci wins College of Veterinary Medicines Community-Engaged Scholar award

On March 28, Larissa Minicucci, DVM, MPH, was awarded the College of Veterinary Medicine's Community-Engaged Scholar award, which recognizes one faculty member or professional and academic individual annually for exemplary and engaged scholarship in their field. She was also one of seven individuals nominated for the President’s Community-Engaged Scholar Award, which honors a long-standing career that embodies the University of Minnesota’s definition of public engagement.

Read the whole story

New class portraits

Changing the class photoSince 1951, when the CVM graduated its first class of students, a large photo of each year’s class has been produced and mounted on a wall of the College. As you may have already seen, these photos currently hang in the main hallway of the Veterinary Medical Center. Unfortunately, the class photographs for the years 1971–80 and 1993 were produced with color dyes that faded. The quality of these portraits was very poor, and it became clear that they would soon deteriorate altogether.

The Minnesota Veterinary Historical Museum (MVHM), an organization of passionate volunteers, resolved to save these important photographs. Using a Minneapolis production firm with expertise in digital scanning and computer enhancement, a black-and-white restoration print was recently completed for the class of 1974. The quality of this restoration is excellent, and the new print has been mounted in place of the old.

“After bringing the 1974 restored class photo to the 2018 Minnesota Veterinary Medicine Association’s annual meeting with the faded original, we were able to generate additional interest in the project and reach our entire monetary goal through fundraising,” says Bennett Porter III, ’82 DVM, who led the campaign. Since then, the museum has restored the remaining 10 class photos.

As the MVHM embarks on new projects to preserve veterinary history in Minnesota, the museum is always looking for volunteers. If you are interested in contributing to the MVHM’s efforts, please contact Porter at 612-251-6371 or for more information.

VeTOUCH clinics at Little Earth of United Tribes give students the gift of immersive learning

The Native America Humane Society (NAHS) prioritizes investing in the future of animal care and veterinary medicine in Indian country. And, in 2017, NAHS brought their mission to Minneapolis by coordinating veterinary wellness clinics for companion animals in the Little Earth of United Tribes community.

Together, the NAHS and Little Earth of United Tribes host the University of Minnesota College of Veterinary Medicine student-run Veterinary Treatment Outreach for Urban Community Health (VeTOUCH), giving students the opportunity to bring what they have learned in the classroom into a real-world context.

The generosity of NAHS, Little Earth of United Tribes, and various other private donors brightens VeTOUCH’s future and improves veterinary care. VeTOUCH is always seeking new volunteer veterinarians to help student participants learn. The next Little Earth of United Tribes clinic will be held on November 17, 2018. VeTOUCH also holds clinics from 3 to 7 p.m. on the first Sunday of every month at Hennepin Avenue United Methodist Church.

If you are interested in getting involved, or if you’d like to support VeTOUCH, please contact or 612-284-7293.

Read about the most recent clinics, which were held in February.

Scholarship reception celebrates students and generosity

On April 19, students and donors gathered to celebrate the 56 scholarships awarded to 80 CVM students. Students had the opportunity to meet the donors of their scholarship and thank them for their continued support.

scholarship recipients(From left to right) Nate Bos ’19, Briana Neuzil ’19, Craig Gapinski ’19, David Pillman ’19, Sam Beech ’19, and Lukas Wallerich, ’15 DVM

scholarship recipients(From left to right) Davis Lyons, Susan Miller, ’08 DVM, and Tyler Lyons. Susan Miller was recognized for her outstanding commitment to the College and making animal welfare accessible to marginalized communities. Miller founded and runs Mission Hospital, a nonprofit that provides clinical veterinary care.

Alumni news

Blazing new trails

To meet the increasing demand for veterinarians and to promote diversity within the veterinary profession, the CVM introduced the Veterinary Leadership through Early Admission for Diversity (VetLEAD) program a few years ago. The program creates a pathway into veterinary school for high-ability students from partner institution Florida A&M University in Tallahassee, Fla. VetLEAD’s first alumna, Miranda Shaw, ’18 DVM, graduated this May, paving the way for a new culture at the College.

Hailing from Indianapolis, Ind., Shaw attended Florida A&M University for her bachelor’s in animal science. According to Shaw, VetLEAD’s prerequisite summer program and GPA requirements ensured her preparedness for the rigorous coursework at the CVM. “When I got here, I was just a regular student,” she says. “I really liked that.”

But this go-getter has some ideas for ways to improve VetLEAD. “Just to have someone travel down to Florida A&M who looks like the students, talks like them, is close to their age, and can tell them about the program—and that the snow won’t kill them—would be really helpful,” says Shaw. With three more VetLEAD students following in Shaw’s footsteps, Shaw notes the supportive sense of community among the group as a highlight of her time in the program.

Miranda ShawAs she graduated this May, Shaw left behind a legacy of community-building both at the CVM and in the Twin Cities. Shaw established a networking group for young African Americans in the Twin Cities, which now has more than 200 members. She has since headed to Niles, Ill., for a role as an associate veterinarian at Banfield Pet Hospital, for which she is—unsurprisingly—already setting goals. “I have talked to Banfield about what opportunities there are in their corporate office,” she says.

While Banfield is Shaw’s next stop on her professional journey, her sights are set on a career in animal industry no matter where it takes her. But wherever she goes, one thing is certain: she has already gone where no woman has gone before her.

Reierson named Veterinarian of the Year

Richard Reierson, ’71 DVM, was recently awarded Veterinarian of the Year from the Minnesota Veterinary Medical Association (MVMA). Reierson is the founder of Elm Creek Animal Hospital in Champlin, Minn., a longtime member of the MVMA Continuing Education Committee, and serves on the Minnesota Veterinary Medical Foundation’s Clay Shoot Committee. He is a past member of the American Animal Hospital Association board of directors.

Kathryn Kitchen named AzVMA emerging leader

Kathryn Kitchen, ’11 DVM, recently won the 2018 Arizona Veterinary Medical Association (AzVMA) Emerging Leader award. This award recognizes an AzVMA member practitioner who has practiced in the state of Arizona for a minimum of three years and has made significant contributions to veterinary medicine in the state. Criteria for consideration include organizational activities, leadership development, education or research initiatives, and service to the veterinary community.

Kitchen owns Animal Hospital at Grayhawk in Scottsdale, Ariz. Prior to purchasing the hospital, Kitchen worked at Faust Animal Hospital in Phoenix. Born and raised in Arizona, she met her husband, Michael Berman, ’10 DVM, at the CVM. Kitchen has a particular interest in behavior, nutrition, and canine internal medicine.

Read more about Kitchen’s work

Alumnus John Howe runs for AVMA president

John HoweJohn Howe, ’77 DVM, spent two governor-appointed terms on the Minnesota Board of Animal Health, where he has represented veterinarians on regional and state veterinary organizations. He has also served on the board of directors of the American Veterinary Medical Association (AVMA). All that in addition to building his own vet practice, teaching gun and archery safety, and serving at his local church. And he isn’t ready to slow down.

Howe is running for AVMA president. A new president will be elected in mid-July at the group’s convention in Denver. A 1977 graduate of the University of Minnesota College of Veterinary Medicine, Howe recently sold North Country Veterinary Clinic, a six-doctor mixed-animal practice in Grand Rapids, Minn., though he still fills in as a relief vet.

But winning the election would be the opposite of retiring. The winner will serve for three years in total—one year as president-elect, one year as president, and one year as past president. The three-year appointment requires up to 300 days of travel each year, including trips to testify before Congress. “It’s pretty much a full-time position,” says Howe. “There’s no way you could run a practice.”

So why put off the fishing and hunting he enjoys?

“I still have more to give,” he says. Howe believes strongly in the profession’s mission of protecting animal and human health and he wants to create better opportunities for AVMA members. Among the benefits of joining the AVMA is a job-seekers’ database to help young vets find professional opportunities. The AVMA also lobbies for laws and regulations that aid veterinary practice.

Howe “represents the ideal candidate to lead the AVMA,” says Trevor Ames, DVM, ’81 MS, dean of the College of Veterinary Medicine. If that endorsement carries weight, Howe may have to put off retirement. But he may not mind.

Says Howe, “I always liked being involved.”

Where are they now?

Our recent DVM, MS, and PhD alumni are all going places. The College extends a hearty congratulations to those listed below who recently made exciting career moves.

Zach Loppnow, ’17 DVM, recently accepted a job offer as an Associate Veterinarian with Anoka Equine Veterinary Services in Elk River, Minn.
Katie Vance, ’16 DVM, is a new full-time associate with Kenwood Pet Clinic in Minneapolis, Minn. She has a passion for internal medicine and s a special interest in soft tissue surgery.
Andréia Gonçalves Arruda, DVM, ’12 MS, PhD, is now an assistant professor in the Department of Veterinary Preventive Medicine at The Ohio State University.
Maria Clavijo, DVM, ’14 PhD, is now a research assistant professor at Iowa State University’s Veterinary Diagnostic Laboratory in the Department of Veterinary Diagnostic and Production Animal Medicine.
Nubia Resende-De-Macedo, ’15 PhD, is now a postdoc research associate in Iowa State University’s Veterinary Diagnostic Laboratory in the Department of Veterinary Diagnostic and Production Animal Medicine.
Jyotika Varshney, ’16 PhD, became founder and CEO of VeriSIM Life, a biotech company developing AI animal models as an efficient and ethical alternative method for drug development testing, in October 2017.  

Have news to share? Let us know! Email us at

Recent events

Mentorship event series fosters new relationships

In November 2017, students and alumni mentors began gathering regularly for evenings spent outside the world of veterinary medicine to connect with one another.

Students crafting wood signsOn November 30, 2017, mentors and mentees crafted wooden signs together.

students at a gopher hockey gameAlumni and current students attended a Gopher women's hockey game on December 8, 2017. (Front row, left to right) Tori Winters, class of 2020, Patrice Sorenson, class of 2021, Anna Ruelle, '11 DVM, Lauren Azarvand, class of 2020 (Back row, left to right) Katherine Pjevach, class of 2020, Camille Kubeczko-Schmidt, '17 DVM, Anastasia Johns, '17 DVM, Joy Stoeckmann, class of 2020

Trivia night

On December 5, 2017, roughly 160 students, staff, faculty, and guests came out to support the Student Chapter of the American Veterinary Medical Association through a trivia game fundraiser. Attendees put together their own teams and enjoyed healthy competition against one another. Trivia Mafia provided the questions and the program was emceed by Scott Madill, DVcs, DACT.

vet students at trivia night

Prominent professor emeritus celebrates milestone birthday

Al Weber’s, DVM, 100th birthday was cause for celebration on March 13. The professor emeritus is well-remembered by thousands of alumni. He joined the faculty in 1949, performed research on cattle leukemia during two highly competitive National Institutes of Health international fellowships, and taught classes through the 1980s.

Al Weber

June 2018

Alumni Tales is a periodic e-newsletter designed to keep you informed on the latest news and events at the college.

We want to hear from you!
  • Fill out the Share Your Story Form for a chance to be featured in one of our future issues.
  • Keep classmates, faculty, and friends of the college updated by adding a class note.
Questions or concerns?

If you have any questions or concerns about alumni matters, please contact:

Bill Venne
Director of Development and Alumni Relations

AFS Board

If you’re interested in joining the AFS Board, send your name, email address, and phone number to

Teresa Hershey, ’98 DVM, Board president
Lukas Wallerich, ’15 DVM, president-elect
Gary Goldstein, ’84 DVM
Roy Martin, ’89 DVM
Heather Case, ’98 DVM
Karen Shenoy, ’04 DVM
Sue Lowum, ’07 DVM
Abigail Albright, ’08 DVM
Susan Miller, ’08 DVM
Abby Coodin, ’10 DVM
Marta D. T. Powers, ’11 DVM
Roland Lefebvre, ’16 DVM
Jordan Sanford, class of 2020, student representative
Andrea Buckalew, class of 2020, student representative
Paige Gardas-Anderson, class of 2021, student representative
Erika Wehmhoff, class of 2021, student representative

In remembrance

Obituaries will be printed in full in the summer issue of Profiles.

Douglas H. Anderson, ’68 DVM, Roswell, Minn., died Dec. 31, 2017, at age 79.
Steven W. Anderson, ’60 DVM, Mankato, Minn., died Jan. 16 at age 81.
Ervin J. Baas, ’60 DVM, Richmond, Va., died April 25 at age 86.
Henry J. Blohm, ’52 DVM, Kiester, Minn., died Nov. 24, 2017, at age 94.
Gerard A. Dahl, ’66 DVM, Park River, N.D., died Nov. 24, 2017, at age 75.
Raymond L. Grefe, ’54 DVM, Walnut Grove, Minn., died Feb. 22 at age 90.
Wayne O. Hagen, ’72 DVM, ’89 PhD, Belgrade, Minn., died April 27 at age 70.
Lois E. Harmon, ’97 DVM, Becker, Minn., died Feb. 17 at age 63.
Eugene K. Karnis, ’54 DVM, Miltona, Minn., died Jan. 17 at age 90.
George A. Lakes, ’56 DVM, Oxnard, Calif., died April 19 at age 90.
Daryl D. Larson, ’77 DVM, Paynesville, Minn., died April 24 at age 65.
William V. Lumb, DVM, ’57 PhD, Fort Collins, Colo., died Feb. 3 at age 96.
Donald O. Manthei, ’54 DVM, Mesa, Ariz., died March 29 at age 91.
Roger W. Meads, ’63 DVM, Hortonville, Wis., died April 7, 2017, at age 83.
Roland "Rollie" C. Olson, ’57 DVM, St. Paul, Minn., died June 8 at age 85.
Lowell L. Patterson, ’54 DVM, Whitehall, Wis., died Nov. 4, 2017, at age 90.
Bennett J. Porter, Jr., ’61 DVM, Wayzata, Minn., died Dec. 14, 2017, at age 86.
Darold L. Strandberg, ’57 DVM, Alma Center, Wis., died April 12 at age 90.
Janet D. Veit, ’96 DVM, La Crescent, Minn., died May 20 at age 48.
Frederick M. Wells, ’61 DVM, Berlin, Wis., died Jan. 30 at age 86.
Robert A. Williams, ’60 DVM, Olympia, Wash., died April 16 at age 86.


Do you have questions about your reunion? Are you interested in getting involved? Contact Kris Hayden, alumni relations associate and events coordinator, at or 612-624-7624.

Saturday, June 16

Class of 2003’s 15th reunion, Al & Alma’s Supper Club and Charter Cruises, Minnetonka, Minn.

Friday, July 13

American Veterinary Medical Association alumni receptionThe Oceanaire Seafood Room, Denver, Colo., 7 to 9 p.m. There will also be a small reunion for former Center for Animal Health and Food Safety residents.

Saturday, September 1

Class of 2008’s 10th reunion, Al & Alma’s Supper Club and Charter Cruises, Minnetonka, Minn.

Friday, September 7

Class of 1983’s 35th reunion, Sugar Lake Lodge, Grand Rapids, Minn., September 7–9.

Saturday, September 8

Class of 1968’s 50th reunion, Sprau Farm, Elkton, Minn.

Friday, September 14

American Association of Bovine Practitioners alumni reception, The Park Street Food Bar & Beer Garden, Phoenix, Ariz.

Class of 1963’s 55th reunion, Country Inn & Suites, Roseville, Minn., September 15–17

Friday, October 12

Class of 1986’s 32nd reunionCourtyard by Marriott, La Crosse, Wis., October 12–14

Stay Connected

Miss your classmates?

More and more CVM alumni are planning reunions at the college, and we’re here to help get you started. Contact Kris Hayden at

Continuing education

Explore our veterinary continuing education opportunities. 

Get your CVM swag

You can purchase College of Veterinary Medicine alumni apparel through Zazzle.