Anissa L. Riley, Office of External Affairs, College of Veterinary Medicine
Dr. Tsegaye Habtemariam, who served as dean of the Tuskegee University's then-College of Veterinary Medicine, Nursing and Allied Health from 2006 to 2014, was honored at a retirement luncheon on Jan. 4 at the College of Veterinary Medicine’s Patterson Hall. Family members, friends and former colleagues were present at the Patterson Hall event to offer their well wishes and to honor Habtemariam for rendering 39 years of faithful service to Tuskegee University from 1979 to 2018.
Some of the special guests in attendance included his children (daughter Ethiopia, oldest son Robel, and youngest son Brooke); interim provost, Dr. Roberta Troy; and Dr. Walter Hill, dean of the College of Agriculture, Environment and Nutrition Sciences; Dr. Harold Davis, past chairman of the Dean’s Advisory Board and retired vice-president of preclinical research at Amgen; Dr. Edward Mitchell, president of the Tuskegee Veterinary Medical Alumni Association (TVMAA); Dr. Irving McConnell, member of the TVMAA and Tuskegee University Board of Trustees who also presented a coin of Booker T. Washington to the family; Dr. Stephanie Miles-Richardson, immediate past TVMAA president; Dr. Richard Fite, retired USDA Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service liaison to the university and Habtemariam's close former travel colleague; Dr. Berhanu Tameru, past director of the Tuskegee University Biomedical Information Management Systems; as well as many other former veterinary medicine colleagues, CVM faculty and staff, and veterinary alumni.
Dr. Ruby L. Perry, dean of the college, presided over the retirement celebration and delivered a heart-warming message on behalf of Dr. Phillip Nelson, dean of the Western University of Health Sciences College of Veterinary Medicine in California, who was unable to be in attendance. Nelson’s congratulatory words stated, “I want to thank you (Dr. Habtemariam) for allowing me to work with you in innovative enterprises during exciting times when the computer industry was developing in the 1980s. Many are oblivious of the groundbreaking work you led in digitizing medical records and leading the college in areas of computer integration in veterinary care and placing Tuskegee at the vanguard of progress.”
Special tributes to Habtemariam included a book of memories and the unveiling of his painted portrait, which will be placed on the wall of deans in the Patterson Hall atrium.
Habtemariam's children acknowledged the entire veterinary medicine family and university for honoring their father in such a special way.
“This place was always so special to our father and will always be called home,” said Robel Habtemariam.
Habtemariam gave a few closing words acknowledging how honored he was to be remembered in such a special way.
“This special place of dignity, of perseverance, has brought many firsts together and so many of us together. That’s the way we grow. This place has brought me so far and I am so grateful. Thank you, Dr. Perry. Thank you all for your love and support,” he said.
“The Tuskegee University veterinary family and friends are appreciative of the contributions made by Dr. Habtemariam to the college, the university, the community and the veterinary profession," Perry said. "He recruited me to return to my alma mater once again as the associate dean under his tenure as dean and so I wanted to honor his many years of service to the veterinary medical profession and Tuskegee University as he begins his retirement of reflection and relaxation.”
About Dean Tsegaye Habtemariam
Dr. Tsegaye Habtemariam began his tenure at Tuskegee Institute (now Tuskegee University) in 1979 as an associate professor in the School of Veterinary Medicine (now College of Veterinary Medicine). He ascended the academic and administrative ranks, becoming professor of epidemiology and biomedical informatics in 1984, director of the international center for tropical animal health (1986-89), associate dean for research and graduate studies (1999-2005), and dean of the College of Veterinary Medicine, Nursing and Allied Health (2006-2014). His honors and awards are numerous and include distinctions as the Outstanding Faculty Achievement Award, Outstanding Faculty Research Award, honorary member of the American Epidemiology Society, president of the World Association of Veterinary Educators, and vice-chair of the Association of Minority Health Professions Schools. Following his deanship, Habtemariam returned to the Department of Pathobiology as a tenured professor of epidemiology and biomedical informatics. He continued his academic work through engagement in teaching and research in the veterinary and public health programs, as well as in the college’s two Ph.D. programs (Interdisciplinary Pathobiology and Integrative Biosciences) until his retirement.
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