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American Veterinary Medical History Society 2005 Annual Meeting

American Veterinary Medical History Society
Annual Business Meeting
Monday, July 18, 2005
Hyatt Regency Minneapolis Hotel – Minneapolis , Minnesota

1. Call to Order

President Raffaele Roncalli called the AVMHS business meeting to order at 8:43am and presided over the session. The order of business followed the protocol specified in the Bylaws (Article 9, Section 2).

•  Roll Call

The Secretary/Treasurer routed an attendance roster. A total of 15 members were present.

•  President's Address

President Roncalli gave a report of the Society's salient activities during 2004-2005. Major effort was spent in organizing the joint meeting with the World Association for the History of Veterinary Medicine. In spite of the AVMHS's limited financial resources, the meeting just concluded has been successful.

He extended thanks and appreciation to the following individuals who contributed to the success of the XXXVI International Congress:

  • Dr. Susan Jones, Program Chair, for a successful cultural program, excellent keynote speakers and vigorous leadership of the sessions.
  • Professor David Williams for aptly assembling the abstracts, both digitally and in print version and supporting the Congress Web site.
  • Dr. Phyllis Larsen for her financial contributions, valuable coins for participants, and overall support for poster presenters.
  • Dr. and Mrs. Sidney Ewing for their generous donation of $1,000.
  • Mr. Trenton Boyd for originating and producing a postcard of remembrance.
  • Dr. Walt Mackey and Dr. Jeffrey Klausner for their gracious hospitality and well-planned Welcome Reception and Tour.
  • Special heartfelt thanks to Mrs. Susanne Whitaker who did a sterling job in coordinating all of the activities needed to organize a successful meeting.

Congratulations to Dr. Robert Dunlop for receiving the Cheiron Award from WAHVM.

In 2004-2005, two new committees were formed: the Finance Committee chaired on an acting basis by Susanne Whitaker (with Dr. Charles “Mac” Larsen, Brig. Gen. Thomas Murnane and Prof. David Williams) and Nominating Committee chaired by Mr. Trenton Boyd (with Dr. Phyllis Larsen and Dr. Leo Lemonds).

Two issues of Veterinary Heritage were distributed. Deep respect and thanks are extended to Dr. J. Fred Smithcors for editing and Professor David Williams for producing this publication.

President Roncalli had prepared a report on his participation at the XXXV International Congress held in Turin , Italy in September 2004. During the year, he and other officers answered a number of questions on veterinary history from both AVMHS members and non-members.

The Society's membership brochure was re-designed by Mrs. Whitaker with the assistance of Dr. Smithcors. President Roncalli expressed his appreciation for this work and hoped the brochure would attract new members.

The student essay contest was again successful. President Roncalli thanked Dr. Sidney Ewing for his time, attention and dedication in carrying out the project over eight years.

He was pleased to announce that Merck and Company has donated $2,500 in support the essay contest for prizes and assistance with travel for students in presenting their papers in 2006. Merck funds must be used solely for these purposes.

The two webmasters, Dr. Robert McClure and Mr. Trenton Boyd, were commended for their continuous support in maintaining the pages. A Web presence is of great importance to the Society for information purposes and as a good vehicle for obtaining new members.

This past year there were several new initiatives: a digital index of Veterinary Heritage by Mrs. Whitaker with the help of Dr. Smithcors and compilation of a 23-page list of American veterinary history books by Mr. Trenton Boyd. Both resources will be extremely useful. The inventory of U.S. veterinary museums was also updated by Dr. McClure and Mr. Boyd and will be posted on the Web site.

President Roncalli acknowledged two main issues before the Society:

•  Membership

Membership continues to decrease from a high of 174 in 1992 to about 85 in 2005. This is not a unique situation to our Society but affects other associations as well. Some possible causes for this decline might include competition from similar societies and from individuals who have well-organized Web pages, increase of dues, and less return on investment (payment of dues) by members when compared to what other organizations offer, and other unknown reasons. Dr. Roncalli indicated that as president this had been one of his goals to tackle this past year. However, because of the work involved with the Congress, he could not dedicate the amount of time needed to improve the situation. The task of reversing decreasing membership is our major issue that will require attention from future presidents.

b) Budget

The Society's budget is our second and ongoing concern especially with no corporate sponsors except Merck. Efforts to obtain corporate and additional grant funding to help support the International Congress were unproductive.

The $15,400 gift from the estate of Dr. and Mrs. Robert Shomer (see page 21 of AVMHS The First Twenty-Five Years ) had been designated for establishing a veterinary history account and should not be used for other purposes.

Finally, President Roncalli extended thanks to all of the Board members who in the course of the year have been very active in rendering their advice to keep our Society alive and well.

4. Presentation of Minutes

The minutes of the 2004 AVMHS meeting held in Philadelphia , Pennsylvania were presented as published in the November 2004 issue of Veterinary Heritage and posted on the AVMHS Web Site. Dr. Ewing commended Mrs. Whitaker for the quality of the minutes. It was moved by Dr. Phyllis Larsen and seconded by Dr. Sidney Ewing that the minutes be approved. The motion carried unanimously.

5. Rules and Procedures

No changes to rules and procedures were suggested.

6. Nominations for Honorary Membership

No nominations were presented at this meeting. However, there was brief discussion about selecting future honorary members. As an example, Dr. Moore mentioned fellow Texan Dr. Robert Norton who was AVMHS President in 1987-1988. Dr. Norton is still active and had been involved in many activities, such as increasing membership by contacting the American Association of Retired Veterinarians. Dr. Larsen recommended sending a special message of appreciation to Dr. Norton. President Roncalli suggested that Dr. Moore might contact Dr. Norton for ideas on increasing membership and report on that communication to the Board.

The discussion of honorary membership raised the issue of membership in the AVMHS in general. It was felt that we are competing with many other societies. Benefits of membership are important and the Web can be a double-edged sword.

President-elect Williams mentioned using honorary membership as a means of increasing visibility and providing support for AVMHS. For example, he said the AVMA previously had a history page, but is no longer interested in publishing one. In past years, the JAVMA editor, Dr. Janice Auden, helped with their book, Veterinary Medicine: An Illustrated History , and has promoted art work on the cover of JAVMA issues. In addition, the Medical Arists' Association of Great Britain has many honorary members who help that association.

In addition, President Roncalli described his experience with The New York Academy of Medicine in New York City . Every year they promote a number of lectures on medical history which are extremely well attended by physicians in the area.  He is unsure why there is not similar enthusiasm in veterinary medicine.

7. Introduction of Guests

No guests were present for introduction.

•  Officer's Reports

•  Treasurer's Report

Mrs. Whitaker presented the 2004-2005 treasurer's report, copies of which were provided to members in the meeting room. It was an unusual year because of the International Congress. About $75.00 in earned interest was generated by keeping most of the general treasury funds in a savings account during the year until needed for expenses.

As of June 30, 2005, the Shomer certificate of deposit principal is $17,589.48. It remains in the Wells Fargo Bank in Hastings , Nebraska until the CD can be transferred to New York at its next maturity date.

A separate preliminary balance statement was prepared for revenue and expenses for the XXXVI International Congress hosted by the Society. Income will be received from the $30.00 and $15.00 registration fees and luncheon. Dr. Ewing made a generous gift of $1,000 that was used toward audiovisual support for the speakers and Dr. Phyllis Larsen contributed to the badges and other items. Some services were provided on a gratis basis, such as the Web site by Purdue University , Welcome reception and transportation by the University of Minnesota , commemorative postcard by Mr. Boyd, as well as room rental and photographer through the AVMA. Cornell University also contributed telephone and fax costs plus staff time. An updated statement will be produced and distributed as soon as the remaining financial information becomes available.

Dr. Jones recommended that remaining funds from the Donaldson Charitable Trust used in 2003 for the 25 th Anniversary celebration be noted on the balance sheet of the Congress as income. Various “in kind” contributions, such as the commemorative postcard, should also be included on the expense list.

The third page of the treasurer's report provided a 4-5 year operating budget summary from 2001/2002 to 2005/2006

b) Secretary's Report

Mrs. Whitaker indicated that Dr. Lemonds had successfully transferred the Society's archival records prior to 1999 to Special Collections at Iowa State University in September, 2004. A signed letter of transferal has been received and is on file.

For 2004-2005, AVMHS membership includes:

Regular Paid Members

United States 75
Canada 1
International 3

Total Paid Members/Couples 79 (includes 4 new first time members)

Note: 34 members from 2002/2003 and 2003/2004 did not renew for 2004/2005.

There have been 39 renewals for 2005/2006 as of July 12, 2005

Special Non-Paying Members

Life Members 1
Honorary Members 2
Gratis Members 4 (Includes student essay winners)


Libraries – Gratis

U.S. 32 (Includes NLM, NAL, and AVMA)
Canada 4
International 1 (Includes CAB International for CAB Abstracts database indexing)

Libraries – Paid 5


Both Drs. Larsen and Ewing indicated that they would like to get a copy of the membership list. President Roncalli mentioned there is sometimes reluctance to distribute membership lists without the approval of the Board. In this case, copies will be available to members with recognized need upon request.

President Roncalli indicated that a questionnaire should be sent to all members to establish further dialog, find out what improvements should be made in the organization and what they would like to see the Society do. He felt that we do not know what the membership wants in today's digital era. Things are different than they were 30 years ago when the Society was being organized.

As noted earlier by President Roncalli, a new Society brochure was unveiled at this meeting. The text remains nearly the same as the 1991 version compiled by Dr. Ryan (Vet Herit. 1989 Dec;12(2):3 and Vet Herit. 1991 Sep;14(2):[49].), but with the addition of photographs and new sections on “membership benefits” and “current projects”. Mrs. Whitaker mentioned that this is still an unfinished draft and asked for further suggestions for illustrations and other improvements. Dr. Smithcors's helpful advice was acknowledged. Arnold Printing Corp. ( Ithaca , NY ) printed 300 copies at $227.00 or approx. 76 cents each.

Robert Brommer of Lincoln , NE will serve at the Society's Registered Agent with the State of Nebraska for the next two years. Since the organization was incorporated in that state, it is necessary to have a “local” address should the State need to contact the Society or serve legal papers.

•  Past President's Report

There was no report from Dr. Sidney Ewing who was present.

•  Incoming President's Report.

There was no report from Prof. David Williams who was present.

•  Committee Reports

•  Finance Committee

A status report was provided to the members of the Committee in January 2005, but progress has been slower than anticipated due to the priorities in organizing the International Congress. Continuing issues will need to be addressed in 2005-2006.

•  Smithcors Student Essay Competition

When he replaced Dr. Shomer in managing the essay contest 8 years ago, Dr. Ewing reported that he had the false hope that there would be entries from all of the veterinary schools. Even though this goal has not yet been reached, he felt there are a reasonable number of submissions. For example, there were 15 essays in 2004-2005 from 8 campuses or slightly fewer than the 18 entered in 2003-2004. He recommended that faculty at each school should be identified and urged to take responsibility for promoting the contest. This would help to generate interest. Dr. Ewing acknowledged Merck & Company's support in providing very respectable prize awards.

Judges are appointed by the President and have replied promptly. This includes Drs. Smithcors, Roncalli and one other person, Dr. Debbie Ladry for 2005. Judges work independently in evaluating and scoring the papers. When completed, all three judges are informed of the final scores but do not know how any given fellow judge rated individual essays. We have been fortunate to have good balance in the ranking responses for the papers.

The 2005 winners are:

First Prize ($750) David Gardiner ( Cornell University )

Second Prize ($500) Sarah Melissa Dyson ( Virginia-Maryland Regional College of Veterinary Medicine at Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University )

Third Prize ($250) Greg Schmiesing ( Washington State University)

The Merck and Company gift also allows $500 toward travel expenses to bring the first, second or third prize winner to the annual meeting to present his or her paper in person. To date, only Greg Schmiesing, who attended the Denver meeting in 2003, has utilized the travel provision. He has now graduated and is an intern at Ohio State University . This is good for the Society as young people are automatically members for one year. A Merck Veterinary Manual is also sent to each student who submits an acceptable essay. Since students are informed so late in the year, Dr. Larsen wondered if the travel money was limited to that particular year. Dr. Ewing recommended that a one-year lag is needed, i.e., a 2005 winner would be invited to present in 2006. President Roncalli indicated that this money can be used only for prizes and student travel. In any case, it may be impossible in some years for students to travel on such short notice, such as the 2006 winner coming to Hawaii within a month or so of notification.

The Society was able to fund the essay contest in 2005 with $1,500 in unused travel money from previous Merck gifts. President Roncalli was pleased to announce he had successfully obtained a gift of $2,500 from Merck and Company in April, 2005 for the coming 2006 year. He was hopeful that Merck's support would continue despite the company's financial situation. He apologized that Mr. Gary Zelko could not attend to present the check himself. This money should be put in a separate savings account that will earn some interest and be designated specifically for the student essay contest.

Dr. Larsen asked whether others could contribute financially to supporting the essay contest. No motion was made. Such a matter will be handled by the Finance Committee.

Dr. McClure indicated that he had not seen any large posters recently and wondered if they were still being produced by Merck. He felt that publicity was important. Dr. Ewing reported that Merck no longer furnishes posters but that he sends announcements to the Associate Deans for Academic Affairs and veterinary librarians at each of the schools. He also provides flyers to each institution with a request that they be posted prominently. President-elect Williams reported that he talks to the entering class each year and sends e-mails to all of the students. Despite his efforts, he was disappointed that no students from Purdue had submitted essays.

Dr. McClure mentioned that Dr. Ewing's suggestion to have a representative at each veterinary school was an excellent idea. This might help to promote the program beyond the three schools who have had consistent entries— Washington State , Virginia Tech, and Oklahoma State .

Dr. Moore mentioned that $750 is not a large a sum as it used to be. Students have debts and various expenses, and he wondered if that fact influenced entry numbers.

President Roncalli thanked Dr. Ewing very much for his work on behalf of the student essay contest. The quality has been excellent which he hopes will continue in the future.

10. Amendment to the Constitution and Bylaws

No Bylaws changes were submitted for consideration.

11. Election of Officers and Directors

Mr. Boyd reported for the Nominating Committee (that also consisted of Dr. Larsen and Dr. Leo Lemonds) on the following slate of officers and board members for 2005-2006:

Past President Dr. Raffaele Roncalli

President Prof. David J. Williams

President-Elect Col. Gary Vroegindewey, DVM

Secretary/Treasurer Susanne Whitaker (2 nd year of 2-year term through 2006)

Board Members:

Mr. Trenton Boyd (second year of second 2-year term through 2006)

Dr. J. Alford “Al” Moore (second year of first 2-year through 2006)

Dr. Debbie T. Ladry (first year of second 2-year term through 2007)

Dr. Zbigniew Wojcinski (first year of first 2-year term through 2007)

Mr. Boyd gave some biographical background information about the “new” nominations. Dr. Wojcinski has worked for drug companies for many years and is an active collector of rare books especially in veterinary pathology. After being in private practice for about 30 years, Dr. Vroegindewey returned to active military service and is now directing all U.S. Army Veterinary Corps deployment. His goal is to build a museum for the Veterinary Corps. He is a long-time collector of memorabilia, including old photographs sold internationally. Prior to this business meeting, Col. Vroegindewey met in person with a small group of past and future AVMHS officers. As a result of that brief session, Dr. Ewing indicated that he felt Dr. Vroegindewey would make an excellent president if he is willing to take on this extra responsibility despite being very busy with military affairs. There was support for helping Dr. Vroegindewey with the program for Hawaii .

There were no nominations from the floor. Dr. Al Moore made a motion to close the nominations and elect the slate as presented. Dr. Bob McClure seconded. The motion carried unanimously.

12. Unfinished Business

a) Reprinting The Veterinarian in America 1675 to 1975 .

Mrs. Whitaker reported that Dr. Smithcors has generously given permission to reprint his book, The Veterinarian in America , 1675 to 1975. A recent estimate from an Ithaca printer shows $1,278 for 200 soft-bound copies at $6.39 each and $1,832 for 300 copies at $6.01 each using grey-scale for the photographs and illustrations. Black and white illustrations would be slightly less expensive but would not have as good resolution or detail. The cost also includes digitizing the text so that additional copies could easily be printed and the pdf version posted electronically on our Web site if desired at a later date. This compares to Dr. Lemonds's 2004 cost estimate of $4.95 per copy from the Hastings Press.

Dr. Smithcors indicated that he still has 15 copies of the original. President Roncalli noted that all copies of the reprinted version from 7 years ago have been sold. Dr. Smithcors indicated that he and Dr. Ryan respectively contributed $1,000 and $500 to print the book, plus $15.00 for postage. Sales were big the first couple of years.

When asked about the demand for a reprint, it was mentioned that at least two people inquired at this Congress if the book was still available for purchase.

President Roncalli mentioned that there would need to be a mechanism for selling the volumes, either on e-Bay, to international veterinary colleges, or via the AVMA. Mr. Boyd mentioned that the reprint would need its own ISBN in order to sell it through President-elect Williams suggested veterinary school bookstores or an outlet.

Dr. Larsen moved that reprinting the volume be postponed until a time when sufficient funds are available, most likely from a special donation or separate contribution without touching the treasury, to cover the production costs. The Board and Finance Committee can make a final determination. This was seconded by Dr. Moore. The motion carried.

b) AVMA Booth

Dr. McClure recommended that the Society have a booth in the AVMA exhibit hall again. President Roncalli explained that we had wanted to have a booth this year but there was too much to do with the Congress. In addition, two important members who staff the booth, Dr. Leo Lemonds and Dr. Richard Detwiler, could not attend this year. Because of these circumstances and after much discussion, President Roncalli regretfully decided not to have a booth this year. He felt that booths are good to attract new members and hoped that one could be done next year in Hawaii . Dr. Moore recommended that the new President should investigate the feasibility for implementing a booth in Hawaii soon.

c) Digitizing Back Issues of Veterinary Heritage

The desirability of scanning and converting printed back issues of Veterinary Heritage was expressed by members present at last year's annual meeting. Mrs. Whitaker explained that the first step of compiling a table-of-contents of the issues has been completed. The list was provided in the Congress registration packet and will be posted on the AVMHS Web site. However, planning for the Congress took priority over existing projects. Further information and action on the digitization project will be provided to the Board in the coming year.

•  New Business

a) Membership Focus on Students

Dr. Larsen suggested and made a motion to set up an ad hoc AVMHS committee to concentrate on students. This would include finding ways of bringing more veterinary student members into the organization. President Roncalli indicated that the organization needs youth for its continuing existence.

Ms. Tya Harris, a veterinary student from Tuskegee , indicated that she had met Dr. Larsen while on rotation at Kansas State last month. Ms. Harris suggested several possible approaches, including announcing the contest to students, inviting all contestants not just the winner to become Society members, having a booth at the annual SCAVMA convention, and holding a workshop geared to students. [Editorial note: All contestants currently receive a Merck Veterinary Manual . In addition, the three prize winners are given free one-year memberships in AVMHS while others are encouraged to join as student members.]

Mrs. Smithcors suggested putting a previous student essay winner on the committee. Mrs. Whitaker mentioned preliminary work by Jennifer Chediak, who won 3 rd prize in the 2004 essay contest, is investigating the establishment of a student history club, or AVMHS student chapter, at Cornell similar to the various other veterinary professional student organizations at the college. More information will be forthcoming about this initiative when Jennifer prepares a report. If feasible, other veterinary schools might want to start similar clubs or chapters as well.

Dr. McClure seconded the motion to establish an ad hoc committee, which was carried.

b) AVMA Directory Listing for EVHS

Dr. Max Herman indicated that the Eastern Veterinary Historical Society would like to have an official listing in the 2006 AVMA Directory , but wanted to consult with AVMHS in advance. He indicated that both organizations have similar but different missions. In particular, EVHS and its American Museum of Veterinary History primarily collect artifacts while AVMHS emphasizes education by means of the written word. Those present agreed that a listing for EVHS would be acceptable and helpful for both organizations.

•  Adjournment

President Williams pledged to do this best his coming year in addressing issues before the Society, looked forward to working with everyone, and extended an invitation to come to Hawaii in July 2006. The business meeting was adjourned at 10:43am.

Respectfully submitted,

Susanne Whitaker
Secretary/Treasurer, AVMHS

September 19, 2005