LEICESTER, Mass. — Becker College announced the formation of its new School of Animal Studies on Wednesday.
Veterinary pathologist Dr. Richard French will lead the school as Dean of Animal Studies and Allerton Chair of Animal Studies - Becker’s first endowed academic position.
“The new school establishes the foundation on which Becker will grow its keystone animal-studies program, with the eventual goal of offering graduate degrees for the first time in its 229-year history,” said Betsy Fuller, Becker’s vice president for academic affairs.
“We’re thrilled to welcome Dr. French, a dynamic leader who will focus on program development, community engagement, and fundraising to bring the program to the next level, and beyond,” Fuller said.
“This new school represents a giant leap into the 21st Century, one of numerous developments that will ensure Becker College remains relevant, connected, and engaged at a time of rapid change for higher education,” said Becker President Robert E. Johnson.
“Becker already has one of the leading animal-studies programs in the country. With the appointment of Dr. French, a nationally recognized leader in veterinary sciences, this new school will keep us in the forefront of this growing field of study,” Johnson added.
Previously director of the New Hampshire Veterinary Diagnostic Laboratory, French comes to Becker from the University of New Hampshire, where he supervised the pre-veterinary program.
French was recently honored as academic advisor of the year; helped reorganize the College of Life Sciences and Agriculture; and helped lead development of a cooperative wildlife-disease center involving Cornell University, Tufts University, the University of Connecticut, and the University of New Hampshire.
French earned his D.V.M. from the University of Illinois, running a small-animal practice for several years before returning to the academic world.
He is a member of the USDA National Animal Health Emergency Response Corps, and has authored numerous publications, including the first report of West Nile virus in the northern hemisphere (Science, 1999).