The Virginia-Maryland College of Veterinary Medicine at Virginia Tech has recognized two former students with its Lifetime Achievement Award and Outstanding Recent Alumni Award.

Richard “Chip” Godine, of Ruckersville, Virginia was honored with the 2016 Lifetime Achievement Award. Established in 2014, the award recognizes alumni for their exemplary and sustained achievements in veterinary medicine and their positive impact. In addition to his clinical work at the Ruckersville Animal Hospital, Godine is the past president of the Virginia Veterinary Medical Association and the North American Association for Light Therapy. He is the first veterinarian to serve as leader of the latter organization.

Godine incorporates laser therapy into his private practice and has been invited to speak throughout the U.S. and abroad about photobiomodulation — the technical name for using laser therapy to decrease pain and inflammation while stimulating regeneration of damaged tissue.

After earning his doctor of veterinary medicine from the veterinary college in 1987, Godine entered private practice in eastern and central Virginia before he and his wife and classmate Caroline Godine purchased the Franklin County Animal Hospital in Rocky Mount, Virginia, in 1995. They eventually moved to the Charlottesville area and purchased the Ruckersville Animal Hospital in 2006.

Megan Shepherd and Cyril Clarke
Megan Shepherd receives the Outstanding Recent Alumni Award from Cyril Clarke, dean of the veterinary college.

Megan Shepherd, of Blacksburg, Virginia, was honored with the 2016 Outstanding Recent Alumni Award. The award recognizes alumni who have distinguished themselves professionally and through service to the university since graduating. Shepherd is a clinical assistant professor of clinical nutrition in the Department of Large Animal Clinical Sciences and has achieved Diplomate status with the American College of Veterinary Nutrition.

In her current position, Shepherd provides consultation to veterinarians on the nutritional management of small and large animal patients and assists primary-care faculty with nutritional support of patients at the college’s Veterinary Teaching Hospital. Her research interests include the relationship between nutrition and health, the dynamic that gut microbes provide to this relationship, and obesity treatment and prevention.

After earning her bachelor’s degree in biology at Virginia Tech in 2002, Shepherd completed a doctor of veterinary medicine in 2006 and a Ph.D. in biomedical and veterinary sciences in 2012.  She previously worked as an equine private practice intern and associate veterinarian at Damascus Equine Associates in Damascus, Maryland.

Recipients of both alumni awards are expected to embody the goals outlined in the Veterinarian’s Oath; use their knowledge and skills to benefit society; protect animal health and welfare; prevent and relieve animal suffering; conserve animal resources, promote public health, and advance medical knowledge; have high veterinary medical ethics; and exemplify the Virginia Tech motto, Ut Prosim (That I May Serve) through deeds and actions that have enhanced their local communities, the commonwealth, and beyond.

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