You are here

OVC alumni honoured at Alumni weekend

Three Ontario Veterinary College alumni will be honoured at the OVC Alumni Association annual meeting this Saturday during the University of Guelph's Alumni Weekend

Dr. Neil Anderson, OVC 1967, will be presented with the OVC Distinguished Alumnus Award. Dr. Andria Jones-Bitton, OVC 2000, will receive the OVC AA Young Alumnus Award and Dr. Mark Gemmill, OVC 1993, will be awarded the OVC AA Alumni Volunteer Award.

The OVC Distinguished Alumnus award recognizes OVC graduates who have brought honour to their alma mater and fellow alumni through their contributions to alumni affairs, education, community, their profession, country and the sciences. The OVC AA Young Alumnus award recognizes alumni who have made a significant contribution in their field within 15 years of graduation. The OVC AA Alumni Volunteer award celebrates OVC graduates who bring honour and recognition to the College by giving generously of their time within the college, in their community or veterinary organization.

Since the 1970s Anderson provided exemplary services to the Ontario beef and dairy industries as a practicing veterinarian and as extension veterinarian with Ontario Ministry of Agriculture, Food and Rural Affairs (OMAFRA). He was a practitioner at, and then owner of, Cheltenham Veterinary Services from 1972 to 1983 before becoming Lead Veterinarian, Disease Prevention (Ruminant) with OMAFRA until his retirement in 2014. In addition to his DVM degree from the OVC, Anderson received his Master of Science in Epidemiology from OVC in 1987. He also served as the president of the American Association of Bovine Practitioners, the major veterinary continuing education and veterinary practitioner organization, in 1987.

Jones-Bitton is an associate professor in OVC’s Department of Population Medicine. Her research passion is the epidemiology of mental health in veterinarians, veterinary students, and agricultural producers, as well as continued work in food-borne, waterborne and zoonotic diseases. 

Most recently, Jones-Bitton, along with four of her OVC colleagues, formed the AWAR2E group, Advancement of Wellness and Resilience in Research and Education, to bring a multi-pronged approach to mental health and wellness initiatives for veterinarians, student veterinarians and agricultural producers. Jones-Bitton and the AWAR2E group’ conducted a producer wellness survey on depression, anxiety, burnout, resilience and stress in fall 2015 and are currently working on a Canada-wide veterinarian survey looking at prevalence of depression, anxiety, compassion fatigue, burnout and resilience.

Gemmill was a founding member of the Farley Foundation, a charitable organization that helps pet owners with limited incomes to receive the non-elective veterinary care that their sick or injured pets require. Not only did he serve on the Farley Foundation’s Board of Directors for fourteen years, from 2002 to 2015, but he also served as President for eight of those years.

Beyond his involvement with the Farley Foundation, he has been a staple of the Ontario Veterinary Medical Association. He served as a Board of Directors member from 2000 to 2016, as well as the OVMA President in 2015. 

An avid hockey player, he also has sat on the OVC Alumni Hockey Tournament Organizing Committee for many years, greatly helping in the planning, organization, and running of the annual tournament.

The award presentations will take place during the OVC AGM this Saturday, June 10 at 10 a.m. in Room 1714 Lifetime Learning Centre.