PennVet | Alumni Awards
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Alumni Awards

Published: Oct 16, 2014

Penn Vet is thrilled to have the opportunity each year to applaud outstanding alumni members of our community—and this year was no exception. The award program, held during the Penn Annual Conference in March, was filled with talented, dedicated, and caring veterinary professionals and students.

 2014 Alumni Award of Merit


The Alumni Award of Merit is presented annually to a select group of alumni who have demonstrated exceptional leadership and service to the School of Veterinary Medicine, as well as community involvement and excellence in the veterinary profession.

Dr. Theodore Robinson, V’74

Dean Joan Hendricks presents Dr. Theodore Robinson with the Alumni Award of Merit.Since graduating in 1974, Dr. Theodore Robinson has spearheaded numerous causes and bolstered the image of Penn Vet and the veterinary profession.

In 2000, Dr. Robinson was instrumental in forming the Native American Veterinary Services—an organization dedicated to bringing quality veterinary care to Native American reservations in the Southwest. Dr. Robinson takes groups of Penn Vet students on these trips, affording them the opportunity to participate in all aspects of both small and large animal surgery and medicine.

He has served on the Board of Trustees of the Pennsylvania Veterinary Foundation and the Pennsylvania Veterinary Medical Association for the past decade. In 1992, he formed Unique Seminar Destinations for the Veterinary Profession, which combines continuing education and world travel.

Dr. Howard Krum, V’92

Dean Joan Hendricks presents Dr. Howard Krum with the Alumni Award of Merit.Dr. Howard Krum, Class of 1992, is an aquatic animal veterinarian and science writer who was the first full-time veterinarian for the New England Aquarium in Boston.

Dr. Krum signed on to help launch both the Georgia Aquarium and the Georgia Sea Turtle Center. He has been featured on the PBS television series Scientific American Frontiers, and his work with stranded sea turtles, large whales, and dolphins has been recognized on NBC Nightly News. His contributions to help create the world’s largest aquarium were chronicled in the award-winning documentary A Window to Wow!: The Exclusive Story of the Creation of the World’s Largest Aquarium.

With a longstanding goal to combine his love for animals, science, and creative communication, Dr. Krum has been dedicated to writing a seven-part book series, An Animal Life, based on fictional and actual experiences from attending Penn Vet. He has donated proceeds from his book to the Penn Vet Working Dog Center, SCAVMA, and other community projects. He also makes frequent trips from Vermont to Philadelphia to participate in events such as Parents & Partners Day and New Student Orientation. Most recently, he was invited to serve on the Dean’s Alumni Council and Curriculum Review Board.

2014 Penn Vet Alumni Achievement Award


Presented for the first time this year, the Penn Veterinary Alumni Achievement Award recognizes alumni who have demonstrated extraordinary leadership and service to the veterinary profession through their work, research, or in a volunteer capacity.

Dr. Joanna Bassert, V’89

Dean Joan Hendricks (r) presents Dr. Joanna Bassert with the Alumni Achievement Award.Dr. Joanna Bassert, a member of the Class of 1989, joined Manor College in 1992 as the Education Coordinator and became Director of the Program of Veterinary Technology in 1993. She helped develop Manor’s first Internet-based course and first program website. She has taught a wide range of courses and presently teaches Introduction to Veterinary Technology and Anatomy and Physiology Laboratories. Her other projects include writing textbooks, producing teaching videos, and developing educational CDs.

Dr. Bassert helped establish the current language in the Pennsylvania Veterinary Medicine Practice Act regarding veterinary technicians. The language is consistent with recommendations by the AVMA and NAVTA, and it carves out a place for veterinary technicians as professionals.

As Dr. Bassert noted, “I see myself as a champion for the profession of veterinary technology. Many of my accomplishments professionally have come about because of my love and dedication to the VT profession and to the people who are part of it. I do not see myself simply as an educator, but rather as a person helping to build the profession of veterinary technology.”

She added, “My greatest satisfaction in teaching is watching my students grow and mature as people.”

Dr. Catherine McManus, V’02

Dean Joan Hendricks (l) presents Dr. Catherine McManus with the Alumni Achievement Award.Dr. Catherine McManus, Class of 2002, is board certified in the American College of Veterinary Preventive Medicine and currently serves as Director of Operations for Dallas Animal Services.

Prior to her work in shelter medicine, Dr. McManus was a veterinary epidemiologist with the Virginia Department of Health and a Veterinary Corps Officer on active duty with the U.S. Army.

As noted in her nomination, “Cate McManus is the only individual from our class who went on to provide service and sacrifice to our country by nobly enlisting in the U.S. Armed Forces. As a U.S. Army Veterinary Corps officer, she served in active duty in Bethesda, Maryland. Here she excelled in her duties, earning awards such as the U.S. Veterinary Corps Above and Beyond Award in 2003, the U.S. Army Achievement Medal in 2003 and 2004, and the U.S. Army Commendation Medal in 2005. Cate ultimately earned the high rank of Major and is currently serving in the U.S. Army Reserves.”

After helping protect public health through her role as a veterinary epidemiologist, Dr. McManus made the decision to become involved with shelter medicine—devoting three years of her life to become one of the first veterinarians to complete Maddie’s Residency in Shelter Medicine at the University of Florida. In her current position, she helps countless numbers of Dallas citizens and their animals. Her unique career journey is one filled with community service, service to our country, and outstanding leadership in the veterinary profession.

Alumni Relations Student of the Year Award


The Alumni Relations Student of the Year Award recognizes students who have consistently demonstrated exceptional commitment and contributions to the University of Pennsylvania School of Veterinary Medicine, the Alumni Relations program, and Penn Vet alumni.

Zach Kern, V’14

Dean Joan Hendricks presents Dr. Zach Kern with the Alumni Relations Student of the Year Award.The Dean’s Alumni Council proudly recognized Zach Kern, who earned his VMD credentials in May. As noted in his nomination, Dr. Kern took it upon himself to meet with the alumni office to coordinate a class gift for the Class of 2014. He did so to leave a legacy—but more importantly, to create a culture of giving back among his classmates and future alumni.

Kern spearheaded the creation of the Alumni Career Coach program as a way for alumni to be a vital resource for students. He also helped bring the Veterinary Leadership Experience to Penn Vet and encouraged alumni attendance. The alumni who attended found it to
be a very valuable experience.

An Opportunity Scholar and President of the Class of 2014, Kern takes advantage of all opportunities presented to him. His external clinical rotations have included the AVMA Governmental Relations Division, a cardiology rotation at Ohio State, orthopedics at North Carolina State, internal medicine at Animal Medical Center, internal and ER medicine at the Veterinary Emergency and Referral Group in Brooklyn, and soft tissue surgery and shelter medicine at the North Carolina Humane Alliance.

Sam Gilbert, V’15

Dean Joan Hendricks presents Sam Gilbert with the Alumni Relations Student of the Year Award.Friendliness, professionalism, and enthusiasm for Penn Vet have established Sam Gilbert, Class of 2015, as one of our go-to student volunteers. He is the student most requested by name by the School’s leadership to represent Penn Vet. After a prospective Board member spent a day on campus, he noted that the highlight of his entire day was the tour Gilbert provided of Ryan Hospital. Gilbert also came in early on his vacation day to take another prospective Board member on a tour, and once again it was a standout experience.

Gilbert is an NIH-Merial Veterinary Research Fellow and President of the Class of 2015. He has used his engineering undergraduate degree in his work with Dr. Gail Smith, designing and building a hands-free canine hip joint laxity evaluation device for use in PennHIP radiographic assessments.