Professor emeritus honored at Ag Hall of Fame banquet

Dr. Paul Nicoletti with his award.

Florida Commissioner of Agriculture Adam Putnam; Dr. Paul Nicoletti, second from left, with his award; Dr. Lisa Conti, (’88), a longtime friend and former student of Nicoletti’s; and Dr. Tom Holt, Florida’s state veterinarian and director of the Division of Animal Industry, Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services.

Dr. Paul Nicoletti, a professor emeritus of infectious diseases at the University of Florida College of Veterinary Medicine, was honored Feb. 12 during the 34th annual Florida Agricultural Hall of Fame banquet, held at the Florida State Fairgrounds in Tampa. Nicoletti was acknowledged along with three others who were recently inducted into the Hall of Fame for their invaluable contributions to Florida agriculture.

The four individuals were named as 2013 Hall of Fame inductees last fall, but the banquet provides a formal opportunity for celebrating their achievements. The event traditionally acknowledges industry leaders who have served in research, education and business. Several UF CVM representatives, including alumni, were present to show support.

A 1956 graduate of the University of Missouri’s College of Veterinary Medicine, Nicoletti began his career with the U.S. Department of Agriculture in Missouri, with later duties in Wisconsin, New York, Mississippi and Florida. Most of his career was spent with the USDA and later, the UF veterinary college, where he taught infectious diseases, epidemiology, public health and food safety for 25 years and influenced many veterinary students to consider careers in agriculture and public health. Nicoletti also served as an epizootiologist in Tehran, Iran, from 1968-1972 with the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations.

While with the USDA, Nicoletti made a lasting contribution to Florida agriculture by improving the procedures used to control brucellosis, an important disease that affects both livestock and humans. An internationally renowned authority on this disease, Nicoletti’s efforts led to the eventual eradication of the disease in Florida.

He retired from the UF veterinary college in 2003, after having amassed several important honors and awards for his achievement. Among those were being named Veterinarian of the Year by the Florida Veterinary Medical Association in 1994 and being presented with the college’s Distinguished Service Award in 2003. He received the Meyer-Steele Gold Head Cane Award, the highest honor the organization gives, from the American Veterinary Epidemiology Society in 2010.

Dr. Nicoletti at Ag Hall of Fame Banquet

Dr. Lynn Holladay, (’95), Dr. Paul Nicoletti, Dean Glen Hoffsis and Dr. Rich Kane (’84). Both Holladay and Kane are former students of Nicoletti’s who attended the event to show support.

The Florida Agricultural Hall of Fame honors men and women for their lasting contributions to Florida agriculture and for mentoring youth. Previous inductees have come from all walks of life including agricultural teachers, researchers, farmers, ranchers and government. Their lives and achievements are commemorated in a display on permanent exhibit in the Florida Agricultural Hall of Fame Foundation building at the Florida State Fairgrounds in Tampa. A total of 136 people have been inducted into the Hall of Fame.

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Emeritus professor honored at Hall of Fame banquet

Dr. Paul Nicoletti honored at Florida Agricultural Hall of Fame banquet.

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