The AVMA family is mourning the loss of Michael R. Roop, who died Aug. 30 at the age of 52. Roop joined the AVMA staff as convention manager in 1994 and was later promoted to director of the new Convention and Meeting Planning Division.
Roop helped shape the convention during a formative period in its expansion. When he arrived at the AVMA, the convention staff was an arm of the Business Division. It later became a freestanding division, and in 2000, Executive Vice President Bruce Little promoted him to director. "Michael was successful in facilitating the growth of the convention," Dr. Little said, "because he was willing to take on extra duties and hire additional people."
Under his direction, CE hours at convention have grown from 396 in 1997 to more than 800 this year, and veterinarian attendance has climbed this year to a thousand more than in 1994. The first wet lab debuted in 1995, and by this year, 17 were being offered for veterinarians and seven for technicians.
Dr. Dennis McCurnin, chair of the Convention Management and Program Committee, said, "Michael was exacting and meticulous, as you need to be in negotiating contracts with hotels and convention centers. He recognized the big picture of our convention and what we were trying to achieve as an Association. He gave us continuity."
Dr. Ron Banks, a CMPC member for the past six years, said Roop was an advocate for AVMA members."He touched the lives of the veterinary community in ways that have changed each of us forever. His impact on organized veterinary medicine was one that most of us will never fully realize."
During his watch, Roop advanced a dream that the AVMA convention become a national and international premier event, Dr. Banks said. "Michael never uttered the word no, but rather with quiet confidence would respond, 'If that is what the membership wants, then we will find a way to do it.' For each activity that falls short of the mark, we reflect on Michael's encouragement-learn from your failure, correct the error, and move on with confidence."
Planning and organizing meetings and conventions was something Roop learned while working for Prince George's County Medical Society and later for the American Association of Medical Society Executives.
His sister Pat Roop said, "After Michael took a position with AVMA, there was a feeling of contentment about him ... contentment in the sense of finally finding where he belonged and was meant to be."His other sister, Linda Roop Hicks, agreed. "He loved animals, and being part of the AVMA was perfect for him."
Thomas Abrams, Roop's best friend of 20 years, commented, "He loved the AVMA and the opportunities it gave him, both professionally and personally."
Pat and Linda said their brother enjoyed AVMA business travel almost as much as vacation trips, many of them taken with Abrams to exotic destinations. On behalf of the AVMA, Roop flew to Egypt this past January for a poultry congress, and he was scheduled to attend the 2002 World Veterinary Congress in Tunisia. He was instrumental in developing the bid for the AVMA to host the 2005 WVA congress in Minneapolis.
Roop worked his way through Berea College in Kentucky and earned a master's in English from the University of Kentucky. His parents, Raymond and Marie Roop of Radford, Va., survive.
Memorials may be made to the American Veterinary Medical Foundation, 1931 N. Meacham Road, Schaumburg, IL 60173-4360; (800) 248-2862, Ext. 6689; www.avmf.org; or to the American Diabetes Association, Always and Forever Honor Program, Attn.: Ada Web, P.O. Box 2680, North Canton, OH 44720; (800) 342-2383; www.diabetes,org.