2017 Award Nominations

Are you interested in nominating a veterinarian for one of our prestigious MVMA Awards?  

Nominations are now being accepted for Veterinarian of the Year, Outstanding Faculty, Outstanding Industry Partners, Distinguished Veterinary Service, Emerging Leader, and the President's Award. Please note, nominations must come from an MVMA Member Veterinarian and are due by December 1, 2017

To complete online nomination form, click here.

To download and mail the pdf form, click here.   

     2016 Veterinary Awards

 Veterinarian of the Year – Dr. Earl Thompson 

This award is given to a MVMA member who has given much to the veterinary profession as well as to his community - a well rounded member who is outstanding in the profession.


Dr. Thompson and his wife, Beverly, established a small animal veterinary clinic in Clarks Grove, MN, which they operated until his health required him to leave the practice in 1983. Following his retirement from the veterinary clinic, he and Beverly travel to India and Nepal, and there they decided to make Nepal their second home. They formed a nonprofit corporation called Nepal Social Service Fund, and spent 26 years working in support of development programs in Nepal. In 1991, he was recruited by VOCA, (Volunteers in Overseas Cooperative Assistance) an organization based in Washington, DC.  They asked him to go to Jordan to head up an agricultural program for them.  He spent the next 10 years working with VOCA as a consultant on 19 different agricultural projects in Jordan, Macedonia, Egypt, Mongolia, Philippines, Ghana and Nepal.  He was named International Volunteer of the year by ACDI/VOCA.

In 1999, Earl received the Gorka Dakshin Bahu National Award from the Kingdom of Nepal in recognition of his work with the Nepal Social Service Fund.  He and Beverly received the Rotary International Foundation Paul Harris Fellow Award for their work in Nepal.  In 2004, they also were awarded the Jefferson Award for Public Service for this work. The Civil War in Nepal has made it impossible for Earl and Beverly to travel to Nepal in recent years, but they remain hopeful that things can be resolved so they can return to their adopted country and participate again in the ongoing program that they established there. It is for his accomplishments and dedication to veterinary medicine and service to others that Dr. Earl Thompson was awarded the MVMA’s 2016 Veterinarian of the Year. 

Congratulations Dr. Earl Thompsonas the MVMA Veterinarian of the Year!

Outstanding Faculty Award – Dr. Larissa Minicucci

This award is given to recipients who are faculty members of the University of Minnesota, College of Veterinary Medicine and all its related departments; who provide outstanding service to Minnesota veterinarians; who give of their time and talent to the veterinary profession, dedicated contributors to the organized veterinary medicine.

Dr. Larissa Minicucci is currently the Director of the DVM/MPH program at the School of Public Health and an associate professor in the Department of Veterinary Population Medicine at the College of Veterinary Medicine. She also co-directs the Veterinary Public Health and Preventive Medicine Residency at the Center for Animal Health and Food Safety. In these roles, she has mentored hundreds of veterinary students and veterinary practitioners in the field of veterinary public health. She earned her DVM from Cornell University in 2000, and her MPH in Epidemiology as well as a Veterinary Public Health Residency certificate from the University of Minnesota in 2004. Prior to her work at the University of Minnesota, she was employed in private practice as a mixed-animal veterinarian in Pennsylvania, where the majority of her work addressed herd health and disease prevention on dairies. She has served as the co-chair of the MVMA Public Health Committee since 2008 and has also been involved in the Veterinary Disaster Response Committee and the Dog Bite Prevention Taskforce.
Her research interests include infectious disease epidemiology focusing on influenza and tick-borne diseases, zoonotic disease prevention, cultural competence, and community health. Dr. Minicucci maintains research, service, and educational collaborations with multiple local, state, and federal agencies with the goal to advance veterinary public health and promote well-being for animals and people.

Congratulations Dr. Larissa Minicucci as the Outstanding Faculty Award Recipient! 

Outstanding Industry Representative Award – Hilary Salzwedel

This award is given to recognize an individual who has exhibited outstanding service to veterinarians and/or the MVMA. This individual should consistently provide exceptional service to Minnesota veterinarians and promote the profession through liaisons with the MVMA, veterinarians, and the profession in general. The recipient of this award does not need to be a veterinarian.

Hilary Salzwedal started her sales career as an inside sales rep at Merial in Duluth, GA. She quickly progressed and earned an outside territory in Nebraska ten years ago.  In 2009 she relocated to Minnesota to take charge of the Minneapolis territory and has served her Merial customers very well over that time.  She has won several awards including being inducted in to the Merial Hall of Fame in 2015.  Just this year she was promoted to the District Manager role.  She is a kind, engaging and thoughtful person – helping all of her customers in better serving their clients.  

Congratulations Hilary Salzwedel as the outstanding Industry Representative Award Recipient!

Distinguished Veterinary Service Award – Drs. Gala Beckendorf, Kevin Haroldson and David Wright 

This award is given to individuals who have performed outstanding veterinary service to the veterinary profession and have contributed to the well-being of animals.

Drs. David Wright, Gala Beckendorf and Kevin Haroldson. These three people have dedicated weeks of their time to the Minnesota State Fair’s CHS Miracle of Birth Center as co-chairs over the past 5-6 years.  Dr. Wright’s organizational skills have contributed to the development of the Nursery of Knowledge area of the exhibit.  He has worked closely with leaders in the poultry industry in creating the new poultry exhibit in 2016.  His work on this exhibit goes beyond the time commitment during the fair but also the countless hours planning and meeting with others in continuing to make the MOBC exhibit an exciting place to visit each year.  

Dr. Beckendorf focus is on maintaining best practices especially as it relates to dairy cows at the exhibit. She has spent many years coordinating displays in the Nursery of Knowledge area in the MOBC exhibit. She also commits countless hours in assisting with planning the exhibit each year. Her quiet leadership and involvement has been critical for the many years that she has volunteered at this exhibit.  

Finally, Dr. Haroldson brings boundless enthusiasm and many hours mentoring and working with the student volunteers at the MOBC.  He has also welcomed students to his northern MN practice for externships. 

Congratulations Drs. Gala Beckendorf, Kevin Haroldson and David Wright as the Distinguished Veterinary Service Award Recipient!

Emerging Leader Award - Dr. Anna Michael Ruelle 

This award is given to MVMA members who have graduated  from veterinary school within the past 10 years and has demonstrated achievement and leadership through veterinary community involvement.

Dr. Anna graduated from the University of Minnesota College of Veterinary Medicine in 2011 with a Doctor of Veterinary Medicine and Masters in Public Health.  Less than a year after graduation, Dr. Anna was given a unique opportunity to buy a mixed animal practice in the Southwest Metro area in Minnesota.  She just celebrated 5 years of ownership of Countryside Veterinary Clinic in early February 2017.

While in veterinary school, Dr. Anna focused on leadership in veterinary medicine, shadowing amazing women in leadership roles.  She has held numerous leadership roles herself in school and since graduation. Currently she is a board member on the MN College of Veterinary Medicine Alumni and Friends Society (AFS) Board, the Veterinary Hospital Association (VHA) Board, and the Minnesota Veterinary Medical Association (MVMA) Board.

She is actively engaged in the issues the veterinary profession faces including the student debt crisis, and social wellbeing of veterinarians. She hopes to continue to bring a recent graduate recent owner, and millennial perspective to the boards she serves on. 

Congratulations Dr. Anna Michael Ruelle as Emerging Leader Award Recipient!

President’s Award – Dr. Jerald Sprau 

The MVMA President’s Award recognizes those who have contributed significantly to the veterinary profession, the MVMA, and that have promoted the human animal bond, animal health and welfare or public health. 

Jerry was born and raised on a livestock farm in southern Minnesota.  He started his involvement with the MVMA as student representative to the board.  He was later elected to the Board (late 70’s or early ‘80s ) and served as program chair,  then re-elected to the board as vice president, becoming president in 1989.  Dr. Sprau received the “Veterinarian of the Year” award in 1994.

He has served on the board as treasurer prior to becoming the current chair of the MVMA Finance and Operations Committee. He was instrumental in establishing the Animal Emergency Clinic and serving as its president.  

He was also instrumental in establishing the VHA and serving on its founding board of directors.  Jerry has served on the Ramsey County Humane Society as well as the board of the Basic Animal Rescue and Training (BART). He accomplished these things while operating a 4 doctor veterinary clinic and actively farming the family farm in southern Minnesota.  Jerry is now retired and he currently enjoys farm life, spending time with is his wife, children and grandchildren, and traveling the country. 

Congratulations Dr. Jerald Sprau as MVMA President’s Award Recipient!

  2015 Veterinary Awards

  2014 Veterinary Awards

 2013 Veterinary Awards

 2012 Veterinary Awards 

2011 Veterinary Awards

2010 Veterinary Awards

 2009 Veterinary Awards

 2007 Veterinary Awards