Leader in advancing DEI in veterinary medicine receives lifetime achievement award


Ruby L. Perry, DVM, PhD, MS, DACVR, was presented with the recognition, named for Frederick Douglass Patterson, during the 2024 AVMA Convention

Dr Ruby L Pe

Photo courtesy of the American Veterinary Medical Association.

Ruby L. Perry, DVM, PhD, MS, DACVR

The 2024 American Veterinary Medical Association (2024) Convention in Austin, Texas, began on June 21 with the presentation of one of its most prestigious awards. Ruby L. Perry, DVM, PhD, MS, DACVR, dean of the College of Veterinary Medicine at Tuskegee University in Alabama, received the AVMA Frederick Douglass Patterson Lifetime Achievement Award during the association’s House of Delegates’ regular annual session.1

Perry’s selection for the recognition was first announced by the AVMA on June 18, 2024. According to a news release, the award was given in honor of Perry’s leadership in advancing diversity, equity and inclusion (DEI) in the veterinary profession.1,2

In a letter written to Perry, Janet Donlin, DVM, executive vice president and CEO of the AVMA, noted that the honoree’s dedication and service longevity in advancing DEI was “nothing short of remarkable” and that she has set an excellence benchmark. “Much like Dr Frederick Douglass Patterson, you have been a beacon of hope and guidance through your mentorship of underrepresented groups and have also exemplified leadership across various veterinary committees and organizations. Your steadfast commitment has allowed you to bring about meaningful change in the veterinary industry,” Donlin continued.2

Perry received her bachelor’s degree in animal and poultry science at Tuskegee University and earned her Doctor of Veterinary Medicine degree at the university’s College of Veterinary Medicine. She was the first Black female board-certified veterinary radiologist in the American College of Veterinary Radiology and the first to hold the president’s position at the American Association of Veterinary Medical Colleges (AAVMC).2

A past president of the AAVMC, Perry has served in multiple roles with the organization. She was previously a 2-term secretary position on the AAVMC’s Board of Directors, a member of the AAVMC Minority Serving Institutions Working Group, and co-chair of the AVMA-AAVMC Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion Commission. Additionally, with Christine Jenkins, DVM, DACVIM (SAIM), Perry co-chaired the Commission for a Diverse, Equitable and Inclusive Veterinary Profession, formed by the AVMA and AAVMC in late 2020 to lay the groundwork for improving DEI throughout the veterinary profession.2

Perry is the second individual to receive the AVMA Frederick Douglass Patterson Lifetime Achievement Award.1 The award’s inaugural recipient—Willie Reed, DVM, PhD, DACVP, DACPV, past dean of the College of Veterinary Medicine at Purdue University in West Lafayette, Indiana—was honored in 2023 at the AVMA Convention in Denver, Colorado.3

In a recent statement, Perry thanked the AMVA and paid tribute to both Reed and Patterson. “Upon learning of my selection as the 2024 recipient of the AVMA Frederick Douglass Patterson Lifetime Achievement Award, l was humbled and extremely honored to be the second recipient of this award following my colleague and fellow Tuskegee veterinary alum, Dr Willie Reed. Dr Patterson was a profound man in the history of Tuskegee University and specifically in the establishment of the veterinary medical program as well as a visionary leader,” Perry said.1

Patterson received his DVM degree in 1923 from Iowa State University in Ames, and a PhD in 1931 from Cornell University in Ithaca, New York. He became president of the Tuskegee Institute and oversaw its development into Tuskegee University. In 1944, while president, Patterson founded both the Tuskegee University College of Veterinary Medicine and the United Negro College Fund.2

“I consider it a privilege to serve in the leadership role as dean of the Tuskegee University College of Veterinary Medicine, now in existence 79 years since its opening in 1945. I do not take this honor or responsibility lightly because Dr Patterson was a leader to be admired by us all and has left a legacy example for all future leaders,” Perry said, in the release.1

Perry was also honored at the 2023 AVMA Convention. During the President’s Reception in Denver, she and Jenkins were recognized for commitment to advancing DEI throughout the veterinary profession.4

On Sunday, June 23, 2024, AVMA Convention attendees will have the opportunity to hear more from Perry when she is interviewed in Austin by Latonia Craig, EdD, chief diversity, equity and inclusion officer for the association. Open to all attendees, the interview will be held at 10:30 am CDT, Stage in the exhibit hall, at Center Stage.


  1. AVMA FDP Lifetime Achievement award, President’s Awards recipients to be honored. American Veterinary Medical Association. News release. June 21, 2024. Accessed June 21, 2024. https://www.avma.org/news/avma-fdp-lifetime-achievement-award-presidents-awards-recipients-be-honored?utm_source=delivra&utm_medium=email&utm_campaign=Convention%20Daily%20News%2006.21.24&utm_id=7189650&dlv-emuid=29d646eb-4fb2-4f12-a96a-e9eacc765f16&dlv-mlid=7189650
  2. Dr. Ruby Perry named as recipient of AVMA’s Frederick Douglass Patterson Award. American Veterinary Medical Association. News release. June 18, 2024. Accessed June 21, 2024. https://www.avma.org/news/press-releases/dr-ruby-perry-named-recipient-avmas-frederick-douglass-patterson-award
  3. Veterinary dean receives inaugural award for lifetime contributions to diversity, equity and inclusion. News release. American Veterinary Medical Association. July 14, 2023. Accessed June 21, 2024. https://www.avma.org/news/press-releases/purdues-dr-willie-reed-named-avmas-first-frederick-douglass-patterson-award
  4. AVMA honors Zoetis executive Dr Christine Perkins and Tuskegee veterinary dean Dr Ruby Perry for DEI leadership. July 14, 2023. Accessed June 21, 2024. https://www.avma.org/news/press-releases/avma-honors-zoetis-executive-dr-christine-jenkins-and-tuskegee-veterinary-dean
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