Alumni recognized with College of Veterinary Medicine’s highest awards

Published: October 26, 2018
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Three outstanding alumni and ambassadors of Auburn University’s College of Veterinary Medicine were honored Oct. 19 at The Hotel at Auburn University and Dixon Conference Center by the college for their distinguished professional careers.

Patricia Kennedy Arrington ‘71, Robert Hoyt ’74 and Steven Swaim ’71 were recognized as the 2018 Wilford S. Bailey Distinguished Alumni.

The award is the highest honor given to College of Veterinary Medicine alumni to recognize their accomplishments in veterinary medicine, outstanding contributions to his or her community and the advancement of animal and human health.

The award is named to honor the late Wilford S. Bailey, who held a 50-year continuous faculty appointment at Auburn, serving in positions ranging from instructor to university president. A 1942 graduate of the college, Bailey was the first recipient of the Distinguished Alumnus Award. Following his death in 2000, it was named for him.

The awardees were recognized in three different areas of eligibility for the awards; academia, private practice and research and public policy.

Kennedy Arrington is the co-founder and owner of two veterinary practices in Louisville, Kentucky, the Jefferson Animal Hospitals, which includes the Fern Creek Wellness & Surgery Center and the Outer Loop 24-hour Emergency Center. Both are considered among the top practices in the state and beyond for their commitment to animal care and the human bond. Both practices are operated using fear-free and low-stress techniques, ensuring the pet and their owner a positive experience.

“We believe that gentle handling and compassion, not muscling down the animal, will go far in how the animal feels about us and especially ensuring the owner will return their pet for health care visits,” she said.

Upon receiving the Bailey Award, Kennedy Arrington said, “I am very passionate in my practice and among my community activities about talking and teaching about veterinary medicine. I like to encourage students, and I tell all that I work with to get involved and move the profession forward. I am extremely pleased and honored to receive this award.”

Hoyt, who currently serves as the Animal Program director and attending veterinarian with the National Cancer Institute-Bethesda Lab Animal Science Program, spoke also about giving back.

“I am quite humbled,” Hoyt said. “Coming to Auburn has been a wonderful lifelong experience for me and it helped me to develop a lot of confidence and really move forward with my life. I have many lifelong friends whom I met here, and I want to especially thank the Admissions Committee for allowing me to attend veterinary medicine school at Auburn.”

Swaim, former director of the Scott-Ritchey Research Center at the college, also talked of his lifelong and deep ties to Auburn University and to the community.

“I cannot tell you how honored I am for the 38 years spent at Auburn,” Swaim said. “This award is a great honor and it is an even greater honor to receive recognition like this from an institution like Auburn University College of Veterinary Medicine.”

Now making his home in Kansas, Swaim said, “I have to come back at least twice each year to get my blue and orange fix.”

The College of Veterinary Medicine is the South's original and nation's seventh oldest veterinary medical program, celebrating 126 years. We prepare individuals for careers of excellence in veterinary medicine, including private and public practice, industrial medicine, academics, and research. The college provides programs of instruction, research, outreach, and service that are in the best interests of the citizens of the state of Alabama, the region, the nation, and the world.