WesternU Names The Nation’s First Woman Dean Of A College Of Veterinary Medicine

The President of Western University of Health Sciences (WesternU) announced September 10, 1998, the appointment of Shirley D. Johnston, DVM, PhD, as Founding Dean of the University’s new College of Veterinary Medicine.

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The President of Western University of Health Sciences (WesternU) announced September 10, 1998, the appointment of Shirley D. Johnston, DVM, PhD, as Founding Dean of the University’s new College of Veterinary Medicine.


“This is a historic moment for veterinary education,” said Philip Pumerantz, PhD. “Dr. Johnston becomes the first female ever to head a veterinary school in the United States or Canada. She will be responsible for opening the first veterinary school in Southern California, and the first in the United States in 16 years.”


Dr. Johnston was unanimously recommended by a Search Committee following an interview process that screened more than 20 qualified candidates from across the United States. She will assume her position as dean on September 28, 1998.


“Following a broad and thorough investigation, it was determined that Dr. Johnston was the best person for this job,” said Dr. Pumerantz. “She has 25 years of experience in veterinary medicine as an award-winning teacher, a widely published researcher, and a nationally respected administrator. Further, her commitment to incorporating compassion and caring into veterinary medicine matches perfectly with WesternU’s humanistic tradition

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