Norden Distinguished Teaching Award

Dr. Thomas Schermerhorn receives the Carl J. Norden Distinguished Teaching Award from Dean Ralph Richardson
Dr. Thomas Schermerhorn receives the Carl J. Norden Distinguished Teaching Award from Dean Ralph C. Richardson.

Dr. Thomas Schermerhorn, assistant professor of small animal internal medicine, has received the Kansas State University College of Veterinary Medicine’s 2006 Carl J. Norden Distinguished Teaching Award.

The award, given annually at each veterinary college in the United States, is presented to an outstanding teacher who advances the veterinary profession by inspiring students to their highest levels of achievement and professionalism. The recognition is highly respected because the recipient is selected by veterinary students.

“Recipients of the Norden Award are a prestigious group of the most influential veterinarians of my generation,” Schermerhorn said. “To be considered part of that group is a great honor.”

Schermerhorn has been a professor at the college since 2001 and divides his time between teaching and research. His teaching duties include a clinical appointment working with senior veterinary students on internal medicine rotations at the Veterinary Medical Teaching Hospital. His mentoring during the past year has been influential to many students working with patients in the teaching hospital.

“Dr. Schermerhorn is a very caring clinician not only to the owners and their pets, but also to the students on the cases,” said Ashley Feinberg, a senior veterinary student. “He wants to know that you are learning something from your cases. He challenges you to come up with diagnoses on your own in a way that makes you respect him.”

Feinberg recalled a selfless act by Schermerhorn that made a significant impact on her. “He gave up his Christmas morning to come in to the hospital to help with a case in ICU and spent a great deal of time educating and comforting the owners. He is not only a wonderful clinician, but an incredible person as well.”

Helping students hone their education, skills and talent to be veterinarians is something Schermerhorn enjoys and takes pride in. “There are many things that factor into every decision you make as a veterinarian. Our students learn the science in textbooks during the first three years of veterinary school, but putting it into practice is where the art of veterinary care comes in.”

After receiving his Doctor of Veterinary Medicine from the University of Pennsylvania in 1990, Schermerhorn completed an internship in small animal medicine and surgery at the South Shore Veterinary Associates in Weymouth, Mass., and a residency in small animal internal medicine at Cornell University in Ithaca, N.Y. From 1994 to 2001, he pursued research training at Cornell.

Research has been an important part of Schermerhorn’s career. His research at K-State involves metabolism of glucose in cats and insulin secretion from the pancreas in both dogs and cats. He says the areas of research and clinical practice are natural extensions of each other. “I enjoy taking the problems that I find in the clinical setting and researching them in the lab to learn more,” Schermerhorn said. “We don’t really look at research projects coming to an end; we look at one phase of a project ending and another beginning.”

Schermerhorn will be nominated for the national Norden award which will be presented at the American Association of Veterinary Medical Colleges’ annual conference in March.

“Dr. Schermerhorn is a great role model for others to follow,” said Ralph Richardson, dean of the College of Veterinary Medicine. “As a clinical teacher, he is caring, dedicated and always thinking of what is best for the patient, the client and the student.”

Schermerhorn said has always dreamed of receiving the award. “This is the highlight of my professional career,” he said.

Schermerhorn and his wife, Jennifer, have three children, Jake, Lucy and Sam.