Innovators

Dr. Edward Benbrook (1892-1967) 
Dr. Benbrook was on the College of Veterinary Medicine faculty from 1918 to 1962 and was head of the Department of Veterinary Pathology from 1919 to 1957. Under his leadership, the Department of Veterinary Pathology became world-renowned for its innovations and instruction, obtaining national and international promience. The department provided diagnostic services in infectious and parasitic diseases in livestock and poultry. Dr. Benbrook served as the first director of Iowa State's Veterinary Diagnostic Laboratory and helped establish the foundation for what has become the nation's top diagnostic laboratory in a veterinary college in the United States. He provided expert advice to veterinarians across the globe.

Dr. George W. Beran has worked throughout the world as an expert in risk assessment related to food borne pathogens. Although he recently retired from teaching and now carries the title of professor emeritus, he continues to serve in significant appointments with the World Health Organization (WHO) and Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO).As a WHO / FAO expert, he serves as a resource in food safety activities and leads expert panels on assessment of risk for microbiological food borne pathogens. Eighty (80) percent of food-borne diseases are from animal products, Dr. Beran explains; and there are about 250 diseases worldwide that can be transmitted from animals to humans. Eliminating salmonella is a particular emphasis in Dr. Beran’s current work. He led ISU’s involvement and served as chair of the Food Safety Research Program, a component of a three-university Food Safety Consortium. He is director of ISU’s World Health Organization Collaborating Center in Risk Assessment and Hazard Intervention in Foods of Animal Origin, which is the only WHO center in Iowa. Earlier in his research career, Dr. Beran played a leadership role in developing a program for the USDA to implement for the eradication of pseudorabies in swine. Dr. Beran has worked on disease control strategies in at least one foreign country every year for the last 43 years. In addition to food borne pathogens, he directs some of his attention to rabies control, which is a major problem in many developing countries. 

Dr. Clarence Hartley Covault (1886-1969) DVM
Dr. Covault came to Iowa State in the fall of 1917 as assistant professor in the Department of Medicine. After being promoted to full professor in 1930 he was appointed head of the Department of Medicine and Director of Clinics until his retirement in 1956. He taught courses in clinical diagnosis, large animal medicine and clinical conference. He was the author of innumerable articles for veterinary periodicals and was the designer of the oophorectomy hook which bears his name. 

Dr. John Herrick (1919-2007 DVM
After a period of practicing large animal medicine, Dr. Herrick joined the Iowa State faculty and spent 35 years as a professor of veterinary clinical science and an extension veterinarian. The AVMA's 90th president, Dr. Herrick was deeply concerned with the environment. He encouraged veterinarians to offer their expertise to help solve environmental problems and he chaired and served on several environmental health committees. He chaired the 1989 meeting that resulted in the formation of the organization now known as the American Association of Swine Veterinarians and was a prime motivator in creation of the National Mastitis Council and what is now the Society for Theriogenology. 

Dr. Ival A. Merchant (1898-1985) DVM, MS, PhD, CPH
Dr. Merchant was one of the organizing members of the National Board of Veterinary Public Health. He joined the VMPM faculty in 1925, and early on he recognized the importance of veterinary medicine in public health. He spent a year (1933-34) at the School of Public Health, Yale University College of Medicine, receiving the C.P.H. After returning to ISU, he wrote the textbook Veterinary Bacteriology, first published in 1940. Through six editions, Dr. Merchant's book was the primary microbiology textbook used in veterinary colleges for decades. The title in later editions expanded to Veterinary Bacteriology and Virology and included Dr. R. A. Packer as a co-author. Dr. Merchant was head of the department from 1943 to 1952; and dean of the College from 1952 to 1963.

Dr. R. Allen Packer (1914-1999) DVM, MS, PhD
Dr. Packer was a distinguished professor and microbiologist whose career in veterinary medicine began with graduation from ISU in 1940. He taught microbiology from 1943 until his retirement in 1985. He served as VMPM Dept. Chair from 1952 to 1980. Because of his worldwide reputation as a microbiologist, he was chosen as a section chair for the 18th World Veterinary Conference in 1967. He served as president for the World Association of Veterinary Microbiologists meeting in 1973.

Dr. Frank Ramsey
Dr. Ramsey's footprint on the College of Veterinary Medicine was big. He was chair of the Department of Veterinary Pathology from 1957 to 1975 and served as chair of the building committee for the construction of the current college complex. He was the collee's chief ambassador and, as such, was always the benefactor. He raised money for a number of projects, including the college's endowment fund and the Gentle Doctor Society.

Dr. William P. Switzer DVM, MS, PhD
Dr. Switzer is distinguished Professor Emeritus. Through his research, Dr. Switzer has made major contributions to our understanding of swine respiratory diseases. The vaccines he developed for atrophic rhinitis and kennel cough have had a major impact on the prevention of these important diseases. Those two patents rank in the top five of all ISU patents generating royalty income for the ISU Research Foundation.