Ontario’s new dean replaces Stone after 10 years

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The first woman to lead a Canadian veterinary college is stepping down after a decade. Dr. Elizabeth Stone will be replaced as dean of the University of Guelph Ontario Veterinary College by Dr. Jeff Wichtel. Formerly of the Atlantic Veterinary College at the University of Prince Edward Island, Dr. Wichtel will begin a five-year term Oct. 1.

Dr. Wichtel
Dr. Jeff Wichtel
Dr. Stone
Dr. Elizabeth Stone

Under Dr. Stone’s leadership at OVC, the veterinary college underwent much redevelopment. She was the driving force behind the OVC Integrated Plan, which included the creation of the Institute for Comparative Cancer Investigation and the University of Guelph Centre for Public Health and Zoonoses. Plus, in 2010, the veterinary college’s Primary Healthcare Initiative celebrated the opening of the Hill’s Pet Nutrition Primary Healthcare Centre.

Additional capital projects that transformed the OVC campus over her tenure included the Mona Campbell Centre for Animal Cancer, opened in 2012; the Equine Sports Medicine and Reproduction Centre, in 2012; the large animal clinical skills building and the Centre for Public Health and Zoonoses laboratory facilities, in 2011; and the large animal isolation unit, in 2009.

OVC’s graduate studies enrollment has increased more than 50 percent since 2005, and the veterinary college now receives more than $13 million a year in external research funding. In addition, Dr. Stone co-chaired two Global Development Symposiums at the U of G, in 2012 and 2014, to demonstrate the critical links between animal health and human health and bring together participants from more than 20 countries and from varied fields in the sciences, health care, business, and public service.

In 2012, to honor the veterinary college’s 150th anniversary, the OVC released the book “Animal Companions, Animal Doctors, Animal People,” an anthology of poems, stories, and essays, as well as a dramatic monologue and a graphic story. The book was published by the veterinary college and co-edited by Dr. Stone, who is a co-founder of the Society for Veterinary Medicine and Literature.

Finally, her focus on experiential learning will continue with the Stone Scholarship for Student Veterinarian Exploration. It challenges students to design an interdisciplinary project, using their skills and creativity, to broaden their career horizons, foster collaborations within and beyond the OVC, and expand the role of veterinarians in society. It was created in honor of her 10-year tenure as OVC dean by alumni, staff, and friends.

Dr. Jeff Wichtel, in addition to serving as OVC’s newest dean, will hold a faculty appointment in OVC’s Department of Population Medicine. He is a former chair of the Department of Health Management at Atlantic Veterinary College and was the college’s associate dean of graduate studies and research since 2009.

Dr. Wichtel also served at AVC as acting dean, director of animal resources, and chair of the Sir James Dunn Animal Welfare Centre.

Before joining AVC, he taught at Massey University in New Zealand and North Carolina State University until 1998. Earlier, he was a resident at Iowa State University and a mixed animal practitioner.

Dr. Wichtel’s research interests are animal nutrition, disease, production, and reproduction, and he has focused on trace element and vitamin nutrition in ruminants and horses. As principal or collaborating investigator, he has attracted more than $2.5 million in grant and contract funding. He is an associate editor of the Canadian Journal of Veterinary Research.

He earned his BVSc degree in 1981 and his doctorate in 1985 from Massey University and is a diplomate of the American College of Theriogenologists.

Related JAVMA content:

Ontario names new dean (April 15, 2005)

Foreign veterinary programs share 150th anniversaries (Nov. 15, 2012)