Cummings School dean receives diversity leadership award
Published: Tuesday, October 1, 2013
Updated: Tuesday, October 1, 2013 08:10
Dean of the Cummings School of Veterinary Medicine Deborah Kochevar was awarded the Lesbian and Gay Veterinary Medical Association (LGVMA)’s Leadership Award on July 21 for her efforts to promote diversity and inclusion in the veterinary field.
Kochevar was one of two award recipients, along with James W. Lloyd, dean of the University of Florida College of Veterinary Medicine. The LGVMA Leadership Award is presented to individuals or organizations that display leadership and activism within the veterinary community.
Kochevar and Lloyd were honored at LGVMA’s annual meeting held at the Hyatt McCormick Place in Chicago. Other community members received the Achievement and Presidential Service awards.
President of the LGVMA Sandy Hazanow (V ’92) elaborated on the criteria for selecting the honorees, noting that LGVMA gives awards to those who exceed their standard roles in the organization.
“The LGVMA leadership award is awarded to our colleagues who ... [contribute] a substantial amount of time, energy and expertise towards the purpose of promoting the value of LGBT people in our profession,” she said.
Hazanow hopes the award will serve as a source of inspiration for members of the LGBT community.
“It is a pillar for those whose true selves are suppressed to see that there are people who are on their side,” she said. “It is a role model for those who are freer to simply exist and for our straight allies to join in the work of LGBT inclusion.”
Kochevar was the first veterinary dean in the nation to become a member of LGVMA and has since assisted the organization in supporting student activity and sponsoring stipends for veterinary students, among other projects.
She spoke positively of her experience working alongside the members of LGVMA.
“They have been around for 20 years and have done really great work in broadening the views of people in the veterinary profession and working to educate a diverse array of individuals,” Kochevar said.
Kochevar joined LGVMA after attending a LGVMA co-sponsored lecture by Shane Snowdon, the founding director of the Center for LGBT Health and Equity at the University of California San Francisco. The lecture took place at the Association of American Veterinary Medical Colleges Iverson-Bell conference in 2011.
Hazanow believes Kochevar’s award was well deserved given her contributions to the organization over the past two years.
“Dean Kochevar has been a resource for us in the LGVMA leadership to discuss ideas and concerns with,” Hazanow said. “She has supported our programs personally and within her academic community and has shown commitment to furthering general diversity and LGBT inclusion in veterinary medicine.”
Michael McGuill (V ’91), adjunct associate professor at the Cummings School, also applauded Kochevar’s efforts in promoting the integration of LGBT individuals into the veterinary community.
“She’s really been instrumental in guiding the group on inclusion issues,” he said. “I think it’s amazing and wonderful that she and the Tufts community have been involved with LGVMA.”
Kochevar plans to continuing working with LGVMA in the future.
“I was very honored,” Kochevar said. “I certainly intend to remain supportive of and active with LGVMA.”