th e NEWS FROM THE UNIVERSITY OF FLORIDA COLLEGE OF VETERINARY MEDICINE
veter nary Dr. Susan Anderson,
former UF CVM faculty
pveriagy member and a 1983
CVM alumna, is shown
with Dr. Jim Hlmes in a
Photo taken in 2001.
p a g e (From college archives)
Groundbreaking for new small animal hospital is landmark for college
BY SARAH CAREY
Friends of the University of Florida
College of Veterinary Medicine
joined administrators, faculty, alumni
and students on the UF campus Nov. 21 to
celebrate a red-letter day in the life of the
college: a groundbreaking ceremony for its
new $58 million small animal hospital.
Members of the pet-owning public,
including current and former hospital clients,
representatives from the Florida Veterinary
Medical Association, practitioners from all
over the state and political dignitaries packed
the college's Alec P and Louise H. Courtelis
Equine Hospital auditorium while various
speakers offered perspective on the monu-
mental occasion. Then the group meandered
outside, adjacent to the new building site, for
the symbolic breaking of the ground.
"I'd like to acknowledge Louise
Courtelis for her many contributions in
getting us where we are today," said the
college's dean, Glen Hoffsis. He said
Courtelis and her late husband, Alec, helped
to mobilize donors on behalf of the college
years ago, leading to the present project's
ultimate success as well as other endeavors
that proceeded it, including the equine
hospital built in 1994.
"She visualized that we would have the
finest hospitals in the country, which now
position this college for excellence in the
future as far as any of us can see," Hoffsis said.
One of the early fundraising efforts
Courtelis led was known as "No More Band-
aids," symbolizing the end of temporary
solutions to the small animal hospital's
overcrowding problems. Previously the idea
was so daunting to college administrators
that only sporadic renovations to the existing
hospital in business since the college
opened in 1977 were thought possible.
Over a period of several years, the
college was able to raise $4.4 million in
private gifts, which was then supplemented
by state equipment and matching funds to
meet the projected cost of construction.
Former college dean Joseph DiPietro, who
left UF two years ago to become vice
president of agriculture at the University of
Tennessee, returned to Gainesville for the
groundbreaking. He, too, shared memories of
the long road to success and paid tribute to
"I remember that we were on the heels of
the 'It's Performance that Counts' UF Capital
Campaign, which was named after the slogan
the Courtelises use at their farm," DiPietro
said. That particular fundraising campaign
Pictured from left to right at the groundbreaking ceremony for the University of Florida's new small animal hospital are UF provost Joe Glover; college dean Glen Hoffsis; small
animal hospital manager Sheri Holloway; UF's vice president for research and graduate studies Win Phillips; state Sen. Steve Oelrich; sophomore veterinary student Caty Love;
UF's senior vice president for agricultural affairs Jimmy Cheek; UF's senior vice president for health affairs Doug Barrett; University of Tennesee vice president of agricultural
affairs and former UF College of Veterinary Medicine dean Joe DiPietro; and small animal clinical sciences department chairman Colin Burrows. (Photo by Sarah Kiewel)
took place in the late 1990s.
"We had a meeting with Mrs. C., which is
what I called her. She may have been a
bulldog when she got behind something, but
I have always called her a fairy godmother for
That meeting led to more discussion
about what was needed and how it could be
financed, DiPietro recalled.
"Then we developed a spirit, and then it
was one fundraising event after the other," he
Dr. Colin Burrows, chairman of the
department of small animal clinical sciences
and chief of staff of the small animal hospital,
acknowledged the efforts of DiPietro and
Hoffsis, as well as former executive associate
dean Dr. Jim Thompson, for the "countless
hours" they spent to bring the project to
He also paid tribute to the small animal
clinical sciences faculty with lines from a
sonnet by John Milton.
"They also serve who only stand and
wait," Burrows said. "This faculty and staff
has served for more than 30 years. I don't
know how many animals we have treated; it
has to be in the hundreds of thousands. We
have served, but we have stood and waited."
Soon after the college's inception in the
late 1970s, it experienced sick building
syndrome and was placed on limited
accreditation by the American Veterinary
Medical Association. A new equine hospital
and veterinary academic building were
constructed subsequently, and hospital
services now include cardiology and
oncology, among others, Burrows said.
"We've grown not only our patients, but
the services we offer, and we are now parallel
with human medicine in many areas," he said.
"It wouldn't have been possible without the
hard work and dedication of many people."
Caty Love, a sophomore veterinary
student who is her class president, said her
class would be the first to experience some
part of their clinical education in the new
"A more impressive hospital makes for
more and better veterinarians, and that is the
ultimate goal," Love said.
The new facility is expected to be
completed by late 2010.
Dr. James Albert Himes
Beloved friend, colleague,
mentor (see story, p.3)
Dr. James Albert Himes
In the spotlight...
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Dr. Jim Himes leaves legacy of devotion
to students, college life
BY SARAH CAREY
F killed with sadness for the passing of a man who helped define the UF College of
Veterinary Medicine, friends and family transformed a memorial service Nov. 19
into a passionate celebration of the life of longtime faculty member and dean of
students Dr. Jim Himes.
Past and present CVM students, faculty and administrators as well as members of Himes'
family shared their memories of a man who was born in Ohio, but who called Gainesville home
for more than 40 years.
After reminiscing and watching slides and a senior skit, the gathering moved outside from
the Veterinary Academic Building to the flagpole for a brief candlelight vigil. Himes' longtime
friend and coworker, Dot McColskey, read a poem.
People reminisced and paid further tribute to former associate dean for students and
instruction at the college, who meant more than words could express to so many of them. The
Office of Students and Instruction arranged a tribute to Himes inside the lobby of the VAB, with
photos taken over the years and awards that had been important to him.
Also on display: the maroon corduroy coat Himes loved to wear and was frequently
Himes came to UF in 1965 as an assistant professor of veterinary science in the College of
Agriculture and in 1973 received a joint appointment in the newly-forming College of
Veterinary Medicine. He was appointed director of the Office of Veterinary Medical Education
for the college in 1975 and served as assistant dean and later associate dean in charge of
students and instruction until he retired in 1992.
Even after retirement, he kept the college close to his heart.
"He was just an extraordinary person who made this college his family," recalled the
college's dean, Glen Hoffsis, D.VM. Soon after he was named dean, Hoffsis received an
invitation from Himes to have breakfast and "talk about some things."
"It became the first of many chats we would have," said Hoffsis.
During the informal service, Himes was lovingly remembered as a mentor, a friend, a
committed advocate for students who shunned praise for himself and as someone who always
had a smile on his face.
"He made eye contact; he looked directly at you and smiled," recalled Alexa McDermott,
junior class president. "I remember seeing him on the first day of freshman anatomy class,
when we were scared beyond belief and we saw this person there who was clearly not Dr.
(Kevin) Anderson. When we found out he'd been at the college longer than most of us had
been alive, we found that to be quite encouraging, because if he could be here that long and
still be happy about the place, we could, too."
Tom Vickroy, Ph.D., presently the interim associate dean for students and instruction, said
even though Himes was retired, in the 16 years that followed, Himes continued to come into
the office at least three days a week right up until this past summer, when he became ill.
Vickroy said one of Himes' habits was to read the applications of all incoming freshmen in
order to understand and know them better.
"I was amazed that after the class of 2012 was selected, he went through all of their
applications to learn more about their backgrounds. He probably remembered more about
them than I did."
In clearing Himes' desk after news of his death, Vickroy said he discovered a document in
which Himes had chronicled the symptoms of his illness following diagnosis with cancer last
Dr. Glen Hoffsis, Dr. Jim Himes and Dr. Link Welborn stand together following the announcement at 2008 NAVC
alumni reception that the $100,000 threshold had been reached to endow the James Himes Alumni Scholarship.
(Photo by Sarah Carey)
"It was very clinical and matter-of-fact, him being a man of science," Vickroy said. "But
there was one passage that stood out. He wrote, 'There is always a chance that some good can
come of adversity.' It was a simple phrase, but very powerful."
Himes' son-in-law, Thomas Clark, and daughter, Leslie, expressed appreciation to everyone
for their kindness and support, specifically Dot McColskey and other staff members from the
Office for Students and Instruction.
Leslie Clark said her father had been a very private person in many aspects of his life. Most
people at the gathering probably did not know that while in Gainesville, Himes had lost both
of his parents, four of his siblings, and a grandson, she said.
Himes' youngest daughter, Jill, also suffered from a disabling car accident and he helped
care for her.
"He would always rather be talking about what was going on with you than what was
going on with him," McColskey said, adding that she never stopped marveling at Himes'
memory, even after he became ill.
"For 15 years, he and I worked together on entering grades," she said. "I knew students as
'first initial, last name' because that is how the roster comes in with the letter grade. But he
actually would say, 'I wonder what happened with Cathy, it's not like her to get a C.' For me, it
was just a job, where he had a unique interest in knowing the habits and study patterns of the
students and their abilities. If he saw a dip in what he knew was a student's average grade, he'd
say, 'we need to keep an eye on that student, something must be going on with them."'
Link Welbor, D.VM., a member of the college's class of '82 and a driving force behind the
college alumni council's creation of the James Himes Alumni Scholarship, remembered
meeting Himes while a pre-veterinary student in 1977. At that time, Himes was the college's
associate dean for students and instruction.
"The period of preparation for veterinary school, and the application and interview process,
Pictured in a photo taken sometime in the 1970s are the college's founding faculty members. In front row are Dr. Fred Neal; Dr. Neil Becker; Dr. James Popp; Dr. Martin Young; Dr. Michael Bruss; Dr. Phil Laipis and Dr. Peter McGuire. In back
row are Dr. Ron Gronwall; Dr. Donald Forrester; founding dean, Dr. Charles Cornelius; Dr. Jack Gaskin; Dr. John Harvey; Dr. Emerson Besch; Dr. Franklin White; Dr. Jim Himes; Dr. Kenneth Ley; Dr. George Meyerholz; Dr. Pearson Palmore; Dr.
George Edds and Dr. Charles Simpson. (Photo from college archives)
From left to right and standing behind Dr. Tom Vickroy, interim associate dean for students and instruction, are are
members of the students and instruction office: Erin Sanetz, Lynnette Chaparro, Tonie Henry, Dot McColskey, and
Dr. Jim Himes. (Photo by Mark Hoffenberg)
Former college Dean Joseph DiPietro; Dr. Jim Himes; Dr. Link Welborn and Dr. Mark Sprayberry at NAVC in 2001 with
an oversized check showing the Alumni Council's first contributions to the James Himes Alumni Scholarship Fund.
(Photo by Sarah Carey)
Dr. Frank Mills holds one of his young daughters while visiting with Dr. Jim Himes at NAVC.
(Photo by Sarah Carey)
Dr. Link Welborn, class of'82; Dr. Jim Himes; Dr. Geoff Gardner, class of'85; and Dr. Rob Leonard, class of'86, at
NAVC in 2008. (Photo by Sarah Carey)
Dr. Sandy Accime, class of '04, with Dr. Jim Himes, Sarah Carey and Dr. Colin Burrows at NAVC in 2002.
(Photo from college archives)
Shown sharing a light moment during the welcome party at the Florida Natural History Museum for Dean Glen
Hoffsis are Dr. Randy Prezzano, class of '00, Dr. Jim Himes and Dr. Destiny Prezzano, class of '05.
(Photo by Sarah Carey)
The -I-r'n rv Paaq ,s Ih- ,:,lliji, s rli:.lr,:,nl,: illl-rnil 1.',sleler : ,Slr, I,] a shlc ld ti B l.mall'- d I, Sarah C,: rev edI*,,r l .:3irev '..limed uIl edu H
is a stressful time for every student, and it was no different for me," he said. "However, Dr.
Himes' quiet, warm, reassuring manner relieved as much of the anxiety as was possible. He
made every student feel as if he cared for them and I'm convinced that he did genuinely care for
all of us."
Himes often functioned as a "support group of one" for every veterinary student during
their four years of school, Welbom said.
"For many of us, he seemed to magically come up with a $250 or $500 scholarship just
when we needed it most," he said.
Welbom said the creation of the Himes scholarship came after a suggestion from the
college's former dean, Joe DiPietro, to the alumni council about a scholarship fund. The
scholarship idea languished a bit, until it was connected to Himes.
"In 1998, it occurred to me that if fundraising was to be successful, we needed to create an
emotional attachment to the scholarship," Welbom said. "Naming it to honor Himes was
obvious, since he had touched the lives of virtually every alumnus in such a positive way."
Donations from alumni, faculty and staff were predictably generous, Welbom said.
"I had the honor of presenting the first Himes Scholarship of $1,000 in 2000, and have
done so every year since," Welbom said. Because recipients must display the sincere, caring
and unselfish attitude associated with Himes, in addition to having financial need, the
scholarships are among the most meaningful to be awarded each year, he added.
"It is not uncommon for the recipients to be tearful when they realize they are so well
regarded as to be compared to Dr. Himes," Welbom said.
In 2008, the Himes Scholarship reached the $100,000 threshold needed to qualify for state
Rob Leonard, D.VM., an '86 graduate, said he remembered Himes as having not just a
remarkable memory for names, but about the people attached to those names.
"He would walk into the reception hall at the North American Veterinary Conference and
greet you, give you that firm handshake or hug, and make you feel like the most important
person in the room," Leonard said. "You could watch him repeat these sincere greetings as he
made his way around the room and somehow, you still felt as though to him, you were the most
important person there."
He described Himes as someone he will remember as being "the good shepherd" to each
class that passed through the college.
"I think we would all agree that Dr. Himes was the consummate goodwill ambassador for
our college and profession," Leonard said.
Recollecting Dr. Jim Himes
BY EMERSON BESCH, PH.D.
I have many recollections of my friendship .
with Dr Jim Himes that began in early 1974. His
unpretentious demeanor masked a profound,
thoughtful, and substantive individual. One
interesting recollection is as follows.
Early in 1981, when I was Acting Dean of the -
UFCVM, I received a phone call from the former
Astronaut, Senator John Glenn of Ohio. He told
me that the son of some personal friends had '
applied for admission to the UFCVM. This family .
had asked him to inquire about the process of
selecting students for interview and admission to
I told Senator Glenn that, as Dean, I was
responsible for selecting the veterinary class based
on recommendations of the Faculty Admissions
Committee. Prior to receiving that recommenda-
tion, I did not involve myself in the specifics of Dr. Emerson Besch
any of the applicants or their files. Anyway,
student (including applicant) files were confiden-
tial and protected under the Buckley Amendment. Senator Glenn told me that the purpose
of his call was not to try to influence any applicant's selection, but rather he wanted to
understand the process by which we selected applicants for interview and eventual
Obviously, Dr. Himes was the one who knew all of the details of the admissions process,
and I asked him to come to my office (at the time, his office was across the VMTH entry way
from mine). I briefed Dr. Himes as to who was on the phone and the nature of the inquiry.
Dr. Himes took the phone from me and said into the mouthpiece, "Hello John, how are
you doing?" Pause. "I am surprised that you did not remember."
There was more conversation, and Dr. Himes hung up the phone.
As he turned to me, I said, "What was that all about?"
Dr. Himes responded, "John Glenn and I were classmates at Muskingum College in
Ohio, and I told him that I was surprised he did not remember me. After he connected my
name to that of his former classmate, he said that he did not need any more information
about our selection process. He told me that he was going to call his friends and tell them
that their son would get fair and equitable treatment from the UFCVM admissions process,
because he personally knew the Assistant Dean for Student Services, and he was an honest,
sincere, and honorable person."
My response was, "Jim, you never cease to amaze me."
Editor's Note: Dr. Emerson Besch, an emeritus professor of physiology in the college's department of physiological
sciences, was a professor of physiology and mechanical engineering at UF from 1974-1993. He served as the UF
veterinary college's founding associate dean for academic affairs from 1974-1980 and executive associate dean from
1981-1988. He was acting head of the department of physiological sciences from 1974-76 and acting dean from 1980-
81, following founding Dean Charles Cornelius's retirement from the Dean's Office. He was also acting associate dean
for research and graduate studies in 1987. Besch and his wife make their home in San Antonio, Texas.
For 12 years, from 1996-2007,
Dr. Jim Thompson, who is now dean
at the University of Tennessee's
College of Veterinary Medicine,
served as the UF CVM's associate
dean for students and instruction.
"I had the great fortune to share
Dr. Himes' office home," Thompson
said. "It was clear to me that serving
our college and students was the
major driving purpose in his life. So
many students benefited greatly
from Dr. Himes watching over and
encouraging their efforts to capture
the D.VM. degree. Purpose is a Dr. Jim Himes with Dr. Jim Yelvington, class of'81.
powerful motivator and Dr. Himes (Photo by Sarah Carey)
had strong life purpose. He will be
Thompson said he remembered a time just before his appointment as associate dean when
Himes was housed in an office far from the Office for Students and Instruction.
"It was sad, because all he ever wanted to do was interact with and help students excel in
their quests to become veterinarians," Thompson recalled. "He couldn't effectively do that
being removed from the office area. His place was in that office and I was pleased when I was
appointed that I got the opportunity to get him back where he belonged."
Gail (Overstreet) Cummings, who worked as an administrative assistant in the dean's office
for more than 25 years, said when she thinks of Himes she remembers a humble person who
always wanted to help the school.
"We had projects that might need someone digging to locate new addresses for alumni and
he was willing to spend the time to do that for us as a retired faculty member," said Cummings,
who remembered fondly the tradition she and Himes had of taking each other out to lunch on
"He was always there for everyone else, not really worrying about himself," she said.
In lieu of flowers, Himes' family requests that memorial contributions be made to the
University of Florida Foundation, James A. Himes Scholarship Fund. People may call the UF
Office of Development and Alumni Affairs at (352) 392-2213, ext. 5200, for more information.
Farewell to My Friend
by Dot McColskey
It must have been a day such as this,
Maybe it was snow, maybe the mist...
When you were born so long ago...
But now it's goodbye, amidst the cold.
A strong man, a gentle man, you have always been,
Through our encounter, you became my friend.
I know you were a dancer, and mischievous, too
And I'm grateful that I have seen that side of you.
Strange, it seems, I can see your youth,
And I can see your spirit, and that's the truth.
You worked so very hard all your life,
You were a man with strong convictions
for the just, the right.
Hard work, devotion, and purpose too.
These qualities describe just an inch of you.
You can be proud of your life's success....
As a father, mentor, and friend, you were the best.
Though you fought your slumber, she received your smile,
Even at the end my friend, you went the extra mile.
It soothes my heart in some small way,
That I was with you at the end when you slipped away.
And so on this mid-winter's night
I bid farewell to an inspiration, a friend,
and my shining knight
I thank you, Sir, for touching my life.
Editor's Note: This poem was written by Dot McColskey, a longtime coworker of Dr. Himes from the
Office for Students and Instruction. McColskey read the poem during a candlelight vigil held immediately
following the memorial service.
.eenr Edcalo* &Clnia ReserhCne
An architect's rendering of what the new building will look like.
Dr. Stephen Shores, Gainesville practitioner and Florida Veterinary Medical Association representative; Dr. Richard
Carpenter of the Caloosa Veterinary Society; and Dr. Mike Endrizzi of Pfizer Animal Health were among the
guests. (Photo by Sarah Carey)
Dr. Joe DiPietro, vice president of agricultural affairs at the University of Tennessee and former UF CVM college
dean, returned to Gainesville forthe groundbreaking ceremony. He is pictured here with Dr. Colin Burrows, chairman
of the department of small animal clinical sciences, and Dr. Dale Kaplan-Stein, a CVM donor and alumna from the
class of 1981. (Photo by Sarah Carey)
Dr. Jay Dutton, a donor and a member of the class of'98, and Dr. Kris Cooke, an associate professor of small
animal medicine. (Photo by Sarah Carey)
Members of the architectural team Ziedler and Associates were among the guests.
(Photo by Sarah Carey)
Dr. Kristin Kirkby, a graduate student and a member of the college's class of 2003, is joined by Victoria Ford.
Ford has been a generous contributor in support of the new small animal rehabilitation center, a program Kirkby
is now coordinating.
(Photo by Sarah Carey)
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Following the ceremony, college dean Glen Hoffsis and senior director of development and alumni affairs Karen Hickok,
joined special guests representing the estates of Harriet and Robin Weeks for lunch. The group returned to the dean's
office, where they are pictured here. From left to right are: Dean Glen Hoffsis, Karen Legato, Stephen (Rusty) Whitley,
an estate trustee; attorney Sandy Rief (Weeks attorney) and estate trustee Robert Richardson. The Weekses estate
gifts put the small animal hospital fundraising effort over the top in private donations needed to qualify for matching
state dollars. (Photo by Sarah Carey)
Dean's office employees Jo Ann Winn, Genevieve Mendoza Perez, Rachel McGriff, Katherine Desmond and
Sylvia Jackson worked to make the event possible. (Photo by Sarah Carey)
Veterinary student Caty Love and student ambassador Shannon McDonald, both from the class of 2011.
(Photo by Sarah Carey)
Dr. John Dame, chairman of the college's department of infectious diseases and pathology, Dr. Mark Pridgeon, a
member of the class of '99, and Dr. Paul Nicoletti, professor emeritus of infectious diseases, visit during the
(Photo by Sarah Carey)
Dr. Julio Ibanez, a longtime college supporter, previous alumni council president and member of the Charter Class
of '80, drove to Gainesville from Miami with his wife, Maria, for the event. (Photo by Sarah Carey)
Small animal hospital managerSheri Holloway and client services manager Dieter Haager.
(Photo by Sarah Carey)