Dr. Ruby Perry named as recipient of AVMA’s Frederick Douglass Patterson Award

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Dean at College of Veterinary Medicine at Tuskegee University honored for her lifetime contributions to diversity, equity and inclusion

(Austin, Texas) June 18, 2024—Dr. Ruby L. Perry, Dean of the College of Veterinary Medicine at Tuskegee University, is the 2024 recipient of the AVMA Frederick Douglass Patterson Lifetime Achievement Award for her distinguished leadership in advancing Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion throughout the veterinary profession, the AVMA announced today.

“As your nomination was discussed by our Board of Directors, your dedication to and longevity of service promoting Diversity, Equity and, Inclusion (DEI) was recognized as nothing short of remarkable,” Dr. Janet Donlin, the AVMA’s Executive Vice President and CEO, said in a letter to Dr. Perry informing her of the award.

“Over the years, you have set a benchmark for excellence,” Dr. Donlin continued. “Much like Dr. Frederick Douglass Patterson, you have been a beacon of hope and guidance through your mentorship of underrepresented groups and have also exemplified unparalleled leadership across various veterinary committees and organizations. Your steadfast commitment has allowed you to bring about meaningful change in the veterinary profession.”

“Upon learning of my selection as the 2024 recipient of the AVMA Frederick Douglass Patterson Lifetime Achievement Award, l was humbled and extremely honored to be the second recipient of this award following my colleague and fellow Tuskegee veterinary alum, Dr. Willie Reed. Dr. Patterson was a profound man in the history of Tuskegee University and specifically in the establishment of the veterinary medical program as well as a visionary leader,” Dr. Perry said.

“I consider it a privilege to serve in the leadership role as dean of the Tuskegee University College of Veterinary Medicine, now in existence 79 years since its opening in 1945. I do not take this honor or responsibility lightly because Dr. Patterson was a leader to be admired by us all and has left a legacy example for all future leaders. Thank you AVMA for this honor.”

The award will be presented to Dr. Perry on Friday, June 21, at the AVMA’s annual Convention, held this year in Austin, TX.

Dr. Perry, the dean and professor of veterinary radiology at Tuskegee’s College of Veterinary Medicine, just completed her term as president of the American Association of Veterinary Medical Colleges (AAVMC). Previously she served a two-term secretary position on the AAVMC’s Board of Directors, as a member of the AAVMC Minority Serving Institutions Working Group, and Co-Chair of the AVMA-AAVMC Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion Commission.

With Dr. Christine Jenkins, she also co-chaired the landmark Commission for a Diverse, Equitable and Inclusive Veterinary Profession, formed by the AVMA and AAVMC in late 2020 to lay the groundwork for improving DEI throughout the veterinary profession.

Dr. Perry is a dual graduate of Tuskegee University where she received her B.S. in Animal and Poultry Science and the Doctor of Veterinary Medicine degrees. She was the first Black female board-certified veterinary radiologist in the American College of Veterinary Radiology and the first to hold the president’s position at the AAVMC.

Dr. Frederick Douglass Patterson (1901-1988) received his DVM degree in 1923 from Iowa State University and a PhD in 1931 from Cornell University. He became President of the Tuskegee Institute and oversaw its development into Tuskegee University. While President, Dr. Patterson founded both the Tuskegee University College of Veterinary Medicine (TUCVM) and the United Negro College Fund (UNCF) in 1944.

For more information about the AVMA’s DEI initiatives, please visit www.avma.org/diversity and www.journeyforteams.org.

About the AVMA

Serving more than 105,000 member veterinarians, the AVMA is the nation's leading representative of the veterinary profession, dedicated to improving the health and wellbeing of animals, humans and the environment. Founded in 1863 and with members in every U.S. state and territory and more than 60 countries, the AVMA is one of the largest veterinary medical organizations in the world. Informed by our members' unique scientific training and clinical knowledge, the AVMA supports the crucial work of veterinarians and advocates for policies that advance the practice of veterinary medicine and improve animal and human health.