A message from our dean

Dr. Dana Zimmel

Dr. Dana Zimmel

Greetings all,

First, I’d like to say that I am deeply honored to have recently been named the college’s seventh permanent dean. The past year and a half have been challenging, but I have learned so much and am truly humbled at the support I have received. I am excited to move the college forward by advancing our strategic goals, as well as our national reputation for excellence across our missions of teaching, research, patient care and extension/outreach.

We do have lots of good news to share. Our newest D.V.M. graduates tipped their cap tassels from right to left on May 29 at commencement, held this year in person at the Stephen C. O’Connell Center. We continue to follow the appropriate health and safety guidelines and to monitor all developments relating to COVID-19, but we also welcome each step that marks a return to normalcy in our personal and professional lives.

A bit more information about the Class of 2021: These students arrived at UF to begin their program four years ago and came from a wide range of educational backgrounds. They held more than 20 different undergraduate degrees from 48 different institutions of higher education; eight students held graduate degrees.

Of our 105 new graduates, 58 earned professional certificates along with their D.V.M.s and three earned an M.P.H. degree. Roughly 96 percent of the members of this class have already settled on their first job, or on the next step they will take to further their training. Adding to these impressive statistics, one of our graduates, Dr. Corey Fisher, became the first-ever UF veterinary medical student to graduate with a perfect 4.0! We’re so proud of all of our new graduates and I know the veterinary profession will benefit greatly from their talents and the people they have become.

I also want to acknowledge our newest Ph.D. and M.S. degree recipients, who received their degrees in late April. Their future is bright as well, and there’s no doubt they will continue to impact human, animal and environmental health through their commitment to biomedical research.

In administrative news, I’m happy to announce that Dr. Amanda House has accepted the position of associate dean for academic and student affairs. She has served in this role on an interim basis for over a year, during what has been one of the most challenging times in our college’s history. Amanda will continue to oversee the entire office, including instructional and other activities associated with our D.V.M. program, along with college admissions.

Dr. Guy Lester’s last day as chair of large animal clinical sciences was June 18, and we are in the process of scheduling interviews for his replacement. Once more I’d like to thank Guy for his leadership and service; we are in the process of finalizing his appointment as a professor emeritus and are grateful we can continue our association in this way. Dr. David Freeman will be serving as interim chair until we are able to bring a new permanent chair on board and I am grateful for his willingness to keep the ship steady in large animal clinical sciences until that time.

Speaking of large animal, one our college’s longest-serving faculty members, Dr. Rob MacKay, has retired after 34 years of service on the large animal faculty, and many more years at UF before that. Many of you might not know that Rob was in our “first crop” of residents back in 1978 – a group of only about 15 people back then, if you can imagine that. To put this number in perspective, in FY 2020, we had 66 residents, 17 interns and one fellow. Our college and the UF Veterinary Hospitals keep growing, but our foundations are deep in talent such as that of Dr. MacKay and others who have put us on the map nationally and internationally as a center for leading-edge patient care.

While our newest graduates are the future, who they are and what they become as professionals is built on the shoulders of those who came before them, paving the way. I will always be grateful for those who have helped to move the college forward, in so many ways, and am excited about what the future will bring.

Enjoy your summer!


Dana N. Zimmel, D.V.M.
Professor and Dean

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May-June 2021

Dr. Dana Zimmel

A message from our dean

A message from the college’s dean, Dr. Dana Zimmel.

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College names longtime leader in diversity outreach to new assistant dean position

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