Dr. Ralph C. Richardson has announced his plans to leave his position as dean of the Kansas State University College of Veterinary Medicine no later than July 2015. He will then assume a faculty position. Dr. Richardson became the veterinary college’s 11th dean in 1998.
April Mason, PhD, K-State provost and senior vice president, said Dr. Richardson has championed many innovative programs, including the U.S.-China Center for Animal Health, which involves students and scholars from both countries in efforts toward better veterinary health care.
Under Dr. Richardson, the Veterinary Training Program for Rural Kansas was implemented, offering a student debt repayment incentive for graduates to work in rural practices in Kansas. The program was authorized by the state legislature in 2006.
The Beef Cattle Institute was founded in 2007 within the veterinary college to create a collaborative environment at the university to tackle issues facing the beef industry through education, research, and outreach.
Also during Dr. Richardson’s tenure, the veterinary college initiated a DVM/PhD degree program to provide training for alternate career paths such as working in research laboratories and academia. Plus, the veterinary college and its faculty played a role in the university’s selection as the site of the future National Bio- and Agro-Defense Facility, a biosafety level 4 facility.
Further, enrollment in the veterinary college grew from a graduating class of 79 students in 1998 to a current class size of 112 for each incoming class.
Two of the college’s service units, the Veterinary Health Center and the Kansas State Veterinary Diagnostic Laboratory, have made numerous advances under Dr. Richardson’s leadership as dean. They include establishment of a satellite hospital, Midwest Veterinary Specialty Hospital, in 2006 in Omaha, Neb., to expand animal health care services to a broader region.
The KSU diagnostic laboratory expanded its facilities to include a new rabies laboratory in the university’s research park and a microbiology laboratory at the K-State Olathe campus.
The veterinary college’s People, Places and Programs initiative, overseen by Dr. Richardson, helped it secure an additional $5 million in renewable state funding in 2013 to boost the economy, workforce, animal health, and food quality in Kansas.
Prior to becoming dean at KSU, he served as the head of the clinical sciences department at Purdue University College of Veterinary Medicine. Dr. Richardson received his DVM degree from KSU in 1970, then completed an internship in small animal medicine and surgery at Purdue in 1973, a residency in small animal internal medicine at the University of Missouri-Columbia in 1975, and a training program in clinical oncology at the University of Kansas Medical Center in 1978.
Dr. Richardson is a double-boarded diplomate of the American College of Veterinary Internal Medicine in the specialties of internal medicine and oncology. He sits on the board of directors of the Kansas City Animal Health Corridor.