Cornell's Smith to end decade-long tenure as dean
Ithaca, N.Y. - He hopes his legacy will be upheld through the continued encouragement of Cornell's future veterinarians to be diverse in thought and practice, and open to challenges and change.
ITHACA, N.Y. — He hopes his legacy will be upheld through the continued encouragement of Cornell's future veterinarians to be diverse in thought and practice, and open to challenges and change.
Dr. Donald Smith, Cornell University's Austin O. Hooey Dean of Veterinary Medicine, will end his tenure as university dean at the conclusion of his second term following the 2006-2007 academic school year.
Appointed by former Cornell University President Hunter Rawlings in 1997, Smith says of the position, "It is a combination of building upon the strengths of the university and positioning the college in relation to leverage those strengths in a unique way only possible in a college that has the scientific and clinical expertise that only Cornell can provide."
Smith challenges future veterinarians to remain diverse "in the broadest sense of the word. Be diverse in all aspects of your being and establish the confidence to be challenged by change."
A former professor, department chair and board-certified clinician, Smith reports his tenure promoted educational innovation and encouraged continued study in cancer biology and oncology, infectious disease and comparative genomics. With the development of a DVM/PhD program and several major building initiatives, including a $55-million animal health diagnostic center, Smith credits alumni for keeping the school "on the leading edge of the profession."
A dairy farm in southern Ontario served as Smith's childhood home and fostered his love for animals. "I made a commitment then to be around cows, whether within veterinary medicine or some other area of the dairy industry."
At his deanship's conclusion in June, Smith will return to the Cornell faculty and focus on studying the role of pets in the family structure, maturation of veterinary medicine in biomedical research and improvement of veterinary student recruitment.
Although disappointed to relinquish his role, Smith adds his decision will allow the ideas and leadership of a new dean to continue the program's growth and improvement.
A team of faculty and administration will seek out Smith's successor, who he says will be lucky to be a part of Cornell, "where the basic science infrastructure is so strong and recognized, it gives us the opportunity to build a program where veterinary medicine can flourish."
"It's been an extraordinary experience," Smith says. "I never came into the veterinary profession expecting a leadership position at any level. I feel very grateful to the university for allowing me to serve in this capacity."