2012 Distinguished Award winners named

A military veterinarian pursuing specialty surgical studies, a practicing small animal surgeon, a retired administrator who helped open the new UF Small Animal Hospital and a beloved teacher whose contributions continue to move many even after his death were named as 2012 Distinguished Award winners by the UF College of Veterinary Medicine.

Sponsored by the college’s alumni council, the program offers recognition to deserving alumni, faculty and others who have contributed meaningfully to UF and/or to the veterinary profession.

Dr. Jay Coisman received the college’s Alumni Achievement Award. Coisman graduated from the UF veterinary college in 2004. A Captain in the U.S. Army, Coisman performed a postgraduate clinical internship at the Department of Defense’s Military Working Dog Veterinary Services at Lackland Air Force Base in Texas. He then became Officer in Charge at Moody Air Force Base in Valdosta from 2005-2007, providing clinical services, as well as food safety and public health support.

From 2007-2010, Coisman served as chief of the Ft. Shafter Branch Veterinary Services, providing clinical, food safety and public health support to Ft. Shafter, Kancohe Marine Corps Base and the Pacific Missile Range Facility in Hawaii. He currently is a small animal surgery resident-in-training at the UF veterinary college and his professional interests include surgery, sports medicine and neurology.

Dr. Kevin Drygas received the Outstanding Young Alumni award this year. A 2006 graduate of the UF veterinary college, Drygas subsequently performed an internship at Alameda East Veterinary Hospital in Denver. During the year he spent there, he was featured regularly on Animal Planet’s long-standing “Emergency Vets” program.

He subsequently completed a residency at Affiliated Veterinary Specialists in Orange Park, Fla., during which he continued his involvement with UF by teaching veterinary students in their junior and senior surgical laboratories. Drygas has published his research in the areas of canine stifle surgery, rehabilitation and pain management and prosthetic limb replacement in national journals, and has presented his findings at nationally recognized surgical conferences. Now board-certified in veterinary surgery, Drygas continues to practice as a staff surgeon with AVS.

Dr. Colin Burrows received the Distinguished Service Award. Burrows served the college for more than 30 years as a clinician, researcher, educator and administrator. He retired in 2011 after 15 years as chairman of the college’s department of small animal clinical sciences, soon after the opening of UF’s new Small Animal Hospital. In a letter nominating Burrows for the award, the college’s dean, Glen Hoffsis, noted Burrows’ international reputation for leadership in the profession, both through his role at the college and as a founder of the prestigious North American Veterinary Conference, one of the largest veterinary conferences in the world.

The opening of the new UF Small Animal Hospital, which Burrows advocated for and oversaw, was his “crowning achievement,” Hoffsis said, adding that other accomplishments included the creation of many hospital and departmental programs and services. Among the programs Burrows developed are the referral liaison program, shelter medicine, an annual referring veterinarian appreciation day event. He also expanded clinical services, including cardiology, oncology and surgery.

The late Dr. Kevin Anderson received the Special Service Award. Anderson died in June 2010 after a long battle with brain cancer. He taught gross anatomy to 22 classes of UF veterinary students and received many teaching and research awards at UF, including the C.E. Cornelius Young Investigator Award for his research on brain receptors. He was named the college’s Teacher of the Year twice, the Basic Sciences Teacher of the Year three times and six times by different classes of freshman students.

In separate nomination letters, former and present UF veterinary students called Anderson an important role model and mentor who provided guidance and support for them in many ways, among those through the Merck Merial Summer Scholars Program and through his love of bike riding and leadership of the TeamVetMed cycling group.

The awards will be presented May 26 at the Phillips Center for the Performing Arts during college commencement exercises.


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April 2012

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