Tornquist steps into new role as Oregon State dean

Published on April 01, 2015
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Dr. Susan Tornquist has been named dean of the Oregon State University College of Veterinary Medicine, according to a March 6 announcement by the university. Dr. Tornquist was named interim dean in October 2013 after Dr. Cyril Clarke resigned that month to accept a new position as dean of the Virginia-Maryland Regional College of Veterinary Medicine.

Dr. Susan Tornquist

Dr. Tornquist has been on the faculty at Oregon State since 1996 and previously was associate dean of student and academic affairs in the college, where she also is a professor of clinical pathology.

“Sue Tornquist has been a very effective leader for the College of Veterinary Medicine over the past 17 months, and has demonstrated that she has the very best interests of the college at heart and the skill set for enhancing the college’s education, clinical services, research, and outreach,” said Sabah Randhawa, PhD, OSU’s provost and executive vice president.

While Dr. Tornquist was interim dean, the college surpassed its fundraising goal of $47 million, again received full accreditation in 2014 from the AVMA Council on Education, launched a graduate program in comparative health sciences, and saw the class of 2014 achieve a 100 percent pass rate for the North American Veterinary Licensing Examination.

Dr. Tornquist said the OSU veterinary college has a bright future, with opportunities for research and strengthened clinical capabilities in oncology and infectious diseases.

“We hope to see expansion in both instructional and clinical facilities in the next five years,” she added.

As associate dean, Dr. Tornquist helped the veterinary college grow its enrollment, coordinate student internships, build partnerships with the Oregon Humane Society and other organizations, and make student experiential learning a hallmark of the program.

Dr. Tornquist received her DVM degree from Colorado State University in 1985 and obtained her doctorate in veterinary microbiology and pathology from Washington State University in 1996. She is a diplomate of the American College of Veterinary Pathologists and a member of its executive council. Her research interests have focused on immune responses to infectious and metabolic diseases in animals, particularly llama and alpaca.

Before coming to Oregon State, she was on the veterinary faculty at Washington State from 1990-1996. She also has been a research associate in New Mexico’s Veterinary Diagnostic Services office; an associate veterinarian in private practice in Albuquerque, New Mexico; and a teaching and research assistant at the University of New Mexico. She is currently president of the veterinary honor society of Phi Zeta and chair of the Academic Affairs Committee of the Association of American Veterinary Medical Colleges.

Dr. Tornquist is the eighth female dean of a North American COE-accredited veterinary college.

“I do think it’s important to have very visible female leadership in veterinary medicine, including academic veterinary medicine, where roughly 80 percent of our students are female. It was definitely a consideration of mine when I thought about this position and the message we want to send to women,” Dr. Tornquist told JAVMA.