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RUSVM Faculty Member, Dr. Mary Anna Thrall Earns Top Veterinary Teaching Award

03/08/13

Ross University School of Veterinary Medicine (RUSVM) professor Dr. Mary Anna Thrall has been chosen by the Association of Veterinary Medical Colleges (AAVMC) to receive the 2012 AAVMC Distinguished Teacher Award, presented by Zoetis (formally the animal health business of Pfizer), the most prestigious national teaching award in veterinary medicine.

Thrall, professor and head of the Department of Pathobiology, will join a select group of past honorees from veterinary medicine schools in North America for her dedication to excellence and student success, as well as leadership in the advancement of the profession.

"The AAVMC Distinguished Teaching Award recognizes excellence in veterinary professional education and Dr. Thrall is an exceptional honoree," said Dr. Deborah Kochevar, dean of the Cummings School of Veterinary Medicine at Tufts University and president of the AAVMC. "Dr. Thrall joins an elite group of prior recipients whose passion for education and dedication in the classroom and laboratory are an inspiration for their students and their colleagues."

Thrall has received numerous awards as a pioneer for women in veterinary medicine and for advancing the field of veterinary clinical pathology, including: the Association for Women Veterinarians Distinguished Service Award; the Distinguished Faculty Award from Colorado State University; the Purdue University School of Veterinary Medicine Distinguished Alumna Award; and the American Society for Veterinary Clinical Pathology Lifetime Achievement Award.

She is co-author of Veterinary Hematology and Clinical Chemistry, one of the most widely used textbooks in training veterinary students in clinical pathology. Her research, supported by a long-term National Institute of Health grant, has focused on bone marrow transplantation for lysosomal storage disorders. Thrall was recently named a “Pillar of Pathology” by the American College of Veterinary Pathologists. Her career as an educator prior to RUSVM includes teaching biology to high school students and serving on the faculty of Colorado State University.

In acknowledging the honor Thrall said, “I am rewarded every day in my classroom by the success of my students, which this award represents. It’s professionally and personally gratifying when I see my students engaged and when they first find the confidence to challenge me. That’s a hallmark of learning.”

Zachary Wilcox, an RUSVM student and president of the RUSVM Student Chapter of the American Veterinary Medical Association, said, “Dr. Thrall’s commitment to teaching is clear by her dedication to student learning, treating each student like a colleague, and encouraging us to become successful professionals.”

On Friday, March 8, Thrall was officially presented the award at the AAVMC’s 2013 Annual Conference in Alexandria, Virginia, where she addressed conference attendees on what makes a successful teacher.

The national AAVMC Distinguished Teacher Award, presented by Zoetis is presented annually to a faculty member at a college or school of veterinary medicine in the United Sates and the Caribbean. It is the most prestigious teaching award in veterinary medicine. Since 1963, the award has been sponsored by Pfizer Animal Health. Award nominees are selected by their individual colleges, while a selection committee at the AAVMC chooses the final honoree.