Dr. Robert Playter - DVM 1961

Western Veterinary Conference 2008

Dr. Robert Playter

Dr. Robert Playter, Brenham, Texas, was selected by Kansas State University’s College of Veterinary Medicine to receive a 2008 Alumni Recognition Award at the Western Veterinary Conference in Las Vegas, on Feb. 18, 2008. Dean Ralph Richardson presented the award on behalf of the Kansas State University Veterinary Medical Alumni Association.

Dr. Playter is retired from Texas A&M University as a veterinary educator and administrator who specialized in ophthalmology. He was born in Perth, Australia, but grew up in Great Neck, N.Y. After serving in the Army from 1955 to 1957, he earned a bachelor’s degree in agriculture in 1959 and a DVM in 1961, both from K-State.

“Attending Kansas State was one of the best decisions I ever made,” Dr. Playter said. “Coming from a family of Midwestern mining engineers, my animal interests were a bit of a throwback. I had no previous contact with K-State, but knew they offered a renowned animal husbandry. My wife is from western Kansas and my brother-in-law was instrumental in my choice of veterinary medicine following my discharge from the Army. It is hard to believe that 50 years have passed since I entered veterinary school and to be recognized for your career by your colleagues, friends and your alma mater is a real honor. It is a capstone to what has been a great career. Thank you!”

“Dr. Playter is highly accomplished and highly respected for his professional career,” said Ralph Richardson, dean of the College of Veterinary Medicine. “His service to the profession and to the field of veterinary education is expansive and impressive. We take great pride in recognizing Dr. Playter’s accomplishments with this award.”

Dr. Playter operated a mixed, private practice in Hays, Kan., from 1961 to 1970. He then attended Texas A&M and earned a master’s degree in veterinary medicine and surgery, and joined the faculty as an assistant professor in the small animal clinic. In 1975, he became a Diplomate of the American College of Veterinary Ophthalmologists.

Concurrently, Dr. Playter advanced professionally to become an associate professor, full professor, and department head of small animal medicine and surgery at Texas A&M. He was chosen to be the director of the Veterinary Health Center at Cornell University, Ithaca, N.Y., which he held from 1985 to 1990. Dr. Playter then returned to Texas A&M as the associate dean for Clinical & Outreach Programs, hospital director and director of the continuing education program for their College of Veterinary Medicine from 1990 to 1996.

For the next year, Dr. Playter resumed teaching, but in 1997 was asked to serve as the interim dean for the college. From 1998 to 1999, he was then appointed to the title of executive associate dean. He retired in June 1999.

Dr. Playter is a member of several veterinary organizations including the Kansas Veterinary Medical Association, Texas Veterinary Medical Association, American Veterinary Medical Association, the American Association of Veterinary Clinicians and the American Society of Veterinary Ophthalmology. He has served on numerous committees and in several leadership positions in these various organizations. He also was a trustee for a skilled nursing facility and held numerous eye clinics for the evaluation of dogs for inherited ocular disease.

Dr. Playter received the Norden Laboratories Distinguished Teacher Award in 1975, Public Service Award from Brazos County Humane Society in 1980, and he was on the Phi Zeta Honorary Veterinary Society in 1982 and Gamma Sigma Delta Honor Society for Agriculture in 1987.

Dr. Playter’s wife, Kay, also attended K-State. The Playters have three adult children: Jodi, Lynn and Rob, and 4 granddaughters.