Iowa State confers Stange, Switzer awards

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Dr. Harris
Dr. D.L. “Hank” Harris
Dr. Ross
Dr. Richard F. Ross
Dr. Shere
Dr. Jack A. Shere
Dr. Williams
Dr. Bill Williams

Iowa State University College of Veterinary Medicine honored four veterinarians Oct. 30, 2017.

Recipients of the 2017 Stange Award for Meritorious Service were Drs. D.L. "Hank" Harris, Richard F. Ross, and Jack A. Shere.

The 2017 William P. Switzer Award in Veterinary Medicine was presented to Dr. Bill Williams for his contributions to society and the ISU veterinary college.

Dr. Harris (Iowa State '67) played a key role in identifying the etiology of swine dysentery. His research efforts in the basic science of the disease ultimately led to elimination and control programs. While employed at the Pig Improvement Co., he developed isolated weaning for eliminating infectious agents and developed multiple-site swine rearing systems. He was a founder of vaccine companies NOBL Laboratories Inc. and Harrisvaccines Inc. In 2014, Harrisvaccines developed a vaccine for porcine epidemic diarrhea. Now retired, Dr. Harris was on the faculty at ISU from 1970-1982 and again from 1992-2014.

Dr. Ross (Iowa State '59), a professor emeritus at the ISU veterinary college, is an international expert in the field of veterinary microbiology. His research on swine respiratory diseases caused by mycoplasmas has had a substantial impact on the understanding of mycoplasmal infections in animals and humans. During his tenure as dean of the college, he was instrumental in the planning and funding of the Livestock Infectious Disease Isolation Facility. He led the effort to obtain funding for the Healthy Livestock Initiative. Dr. Ross also served in other college leadership roles and as dean of the ISU College of Agriculture.

Dr. Shere (Iowa State '87) is deputy administrator for the U.S. Department of Agriculture's Veterinary Services and chief veterinary officer of the United States. For the past 27 years, he has been on the leading edge of responses to animal disease outbreaks in the United States and abroad, including outbreaks of Salmonella enteritidis, foot-and-mouth disease, avian influenza, and exotic Newcastle disease. He leads USDA efforts in protecting and improving the health, quality, and marketability of the nation's agricultural animals, animal products, and veterinary biologics. He also oversees Veterinary Services' national and international reference laboratory network.

A past president of the Iowa VMA, Dr. Williams (Missouri '95) works to increase the visibility of the veterinary profession in Iowa, improve engagement with ISU veterinary students, and champion the IVMA foundation that provides more than $50,000 annually for scholarships for veterinary students. He also volunteers with IVMA legislative activities. For years, he has helped the college in recruiting prospective veterinary students. He has raised more than $10,000 pedaling across Iowa for the Josh Challenge Project at the college, which provides hospitalized children with stuffed animals and other comforting resources. He co-owns two small animal practices, in Des Moines and Altoona.