Jeffrey Wilcke, Metcalf Professor of Veterinary Medical Informatics in the Department of Biomedical Sciences and Pathobiology in the Virginia-Maryland College of Veterinary Medicine at Virginia Tech, has been conferred the title of professor emeritus by the Virginia Tech Board of Visitors.

The emeritus title may be conferred on retired professors, associate professors, and administrative officers who are specially recommended to the board by Virginia Tech President Tim Sands in recognition of exemplary service to the university. Nominated individuals who are approved by the board receive a copy of the resolution and a certificate of appreciation.

“Through his work as director and founder of the Virginia Tech Veterinary Terminology Services Laboratory and as a database administrator for the Veterinary Antimicrobial Decision Support website, Dr. Wilcke brought international visibility to Virginia Tech and helped advance the field of veterinary informatics,” said Professor Margie Lee, a medical microbiologist and head of the Department of Biomedical Sciences and Pathobiology.

A member of the Virginia Tech community since 1982, and a diplomate of the American College of Veterinary Clinical Pharmacology, Wilcke made significant contributions to veterinary medicine through his work in medical informatics focusing on veterinary terminology. His scholarship resulted in more than 60 peer-reviewed journal articles, book chapters, and reviews.

“Dr. Wilcke is one of the very few investigators nationally and globally in this highly specialized field of veterinary terminology. He closely interacted with several federal agencies, notably the U.S. Department of Agriculture. He and his research team have diligently worked on developing and standardizing terminologies essential for disease surveillance programs,” said Ansar Ahmed, professor of immunology and associate dean of research and graduate studies.

In light of his longtime service and expertise, Wilcke has been recognized with several professional honors and awards over the course of his academic career.

In 2007, he received the American Academy of Veterinary Pharmacology and Therapeutics Teaching Award, honoring his devotion to teaching veterinary professional and graduate students and his many contributions to clinical pharmacology.

Last year, the Association for Veterinary Informatics (AVI) named Wilcke the recipient of the Allen W. Hahn Lifetime Achievement Award in Veterinary Informatics, which honors individuals who have been a leader, educator, and innovator in veterinary informatics. Formally presented by Julie Green, special research assistant professor of veterinary medical informatics and a member of the 2020 Hahn Award Committee, the award was announced at the AVI's virtual Talbot Veterinary Informatics Symposium, which is named for the veterinary college’s founding dean, Richard B. Talbot, a pioneer in veterinary informatics.

In the classroom, Wilcke taught a variety of professional and graduate-level courses across the veterinary curriculum and advised many master’s and Ph.D. students, guiding them to successful careers in both academic and industrial settings.

“As a student, I was taught more than just pharmacology and informatics by Dr. Wilcke. He taught me to think critically and be analytical in every aspect of my profession, and I think that’s a big part of his impact on student development,” said Green. “His goal was always to build students who would go out into their field and be able to continue to grow and learn and adapt, not just students who could regurgitate the facts they were taught.”

Along with his academic and research activities, Wilcke held leadership positions in several professional organizations, serving as the U.S. representative for the international Systematized Nomenclature of Medicine Clinical Terms (SNOMED) content committee and the director of the American Veterinary Medical Association Secretariat for SNOMED International.

Green said that besides challenging team members to always look to the future, Wilcke was an ideal colleague: “It was like working with the best partner you can imagine. There were lots of laughs, quite a few sessions of venting, and a whole lot of teamwork.”

Wilcke earned a D.V.M. from Iowa State University and a master’s degree from the University of Illinois.

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