Trailblazing veterinarian wins award for distinguished alumni service

Since graduating from Cornell with an undergraduate degree in chemistry, Sheila Allen ’76, D.V.M. ’81, has shown unwavering commitment to the veterinary profession. To honor this dedication and formally recognize her contributions to the field, the Cornell University College of Veterinary Medicine (CVM) Alumni Association has awarded Allen the college’s highest alumni honor: The Daniel Elmer Salmon Award for Distinguished Alumni Service.

The Daniel Elmer Salmon Award for Distinguished Alumni Service honors veterinary graduates who have distinguished themselves in service to the profession, their communities or to the college. It was established by the CVM Alumni Association in 1986 and named in honor of Cornell and the country’s first D.V.M. graduate. Salmon is best remembered for his pioneering work in controlling contagious animal diseases in the early twentieth century, and the bacteria salmonella was named in his honor.

“Dr. Sheila Allen is clearly a worthy recipient of the Salmon Award by virtue of her commitment to the profession and the Cornell community,” said Ann Hohenhaus, D.V.M. ’85, staff doctor in oncology at the Animal Medical Center and one of Allen’s nominators. “Society as a whole has realized enormous benefits from her service to veterinary education.”

Throughout her career, Allen demonstrated a passion for instruction and care for the future of veterinary teaching and learning.

“Dr. Allen is the type of leader who sparks creativity, encourages talent and sees the bright side on the dimmest day,” said Ann Dwyer, D.V.M. ’83, former co-owner of Genesee Valley Equine Clinic, also a nominator.

While at Cornell, Allen completed her undergraduate degree in chemistry, followed by her veterinary degree from CVM. Allen then went on to the University of Georgia for an internship and residency, as well as for her master’s degree in clinical pathology. She joined the faculty there, focusing on the emerging fields of surgical oncology, reconstructive surgery and pain management. In the clinic, she tackled the most difficult cases, and in the classroom her passion inspired veterinary students to be bold and innovative. She also entered the administration and served as dean, where her analytic skills influenced curriculum, admissions, instruction and research.

“I’m deeply touched that my colleagues would recognize me in this way,” Allen said. “I have a very strong allegiance not only to my profession, but also to Cornell and the college, so I couldn't be more honored.”

To read about Allen's contributions to the veterinary student experience, her impact on veterinary curricula and her time on the Cornell Board of Trustees, visit the full story on the CVM website.

Read the story in the Cornell Chronicle.

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