September 1, 2016

Vet School Alumnus Robert Marshak DVM ’45 Receives Distinguished Alumni Award

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Cornell University College of Veterinary Medicine alumnus Robert Marshak DVM ’45 was awarded the college’s 2016 Salmon Award for Distinguished Alumni Service Tuesday, according to a University press release.

The award recognizes “exemplary commitment and accomplishments related to teaching, research and/or the clinical practice of veterinary medicine,” according to Claudia Wheatley, senior public affairs officer for the CVM.

“The other criteria are support for the College of Veterinary Medicine and Cornell University and contributions to the veterinary profession, the winner’s community and/or society as a whole,” Wheatley said.

The Salmon Award — which was first created in 1986 — is the oldest degree of veterinary medicine (DMV) award in the United States.

The award was named for Cornell alumnus Daniel Elmer Salmon BVS ’1872, DVM ’1876, the first American to receive a DVM. Salmon established the U.S. meat inspection program and spread awareness about diseases transmitted from animals to humans, according to the University.

In the University release, Marshak said he was “deeply honored” to receive the award.

“Both [Salmon’s professor] and Salmon are in my pantheon of heroes,” he said. “Their tremendous impact on veterinary medical education and research are still strongly felt.”

Marshak has had a “profound impact” on veterinary medicine and education, according to Lorin Warnick, the Vet School’s dean.

“His emphasis on scientific training has influenced generations of veterinary students for the better,” Warnick said. “We are proud to have him as an alumnus of Cornell’s College of Veterinary Medicine.”

Alfred Merritt DVM ’63, who nominated Marshak for the award, said the alumnus “inspired a generation of veterinary students” to excellence in integrity and science. “These ideas, which were cutting-edge at the time, are now an integral part of our profession’s academic mission and clinical offerings,” Merritt said.

Marshak’s legacy at Cornell is most clearly visible in the CVM’s Baker Institute for Animal health, where he was a founding member of the institute’s advisory council and served on it for 20 years, according to Wheatley.

Marshak will receive the Salmon Award Oct. 1, from Provost Michael Kotlikoff — whom Marshak hired, becoming one of Kotlikoff’s “chief career mentors” — according to Wheatley.