Honorary awards

Professor Douglas Donald McGregor

The degree of Doctor of Veterinary Science (honoris causa) was conferred upon Professor Douglas Donald McGregor at the Pharmacy graduation ceremony held at 11.30am on 23 March 2007.

Professor Douglas Donald McGregor

The Vice-Chancellor Professor Gavin Brown reading the citation for Professor McGregor at the conferring ceremony, photo, copyright Memento Photography.


Presented by the Vice-Chancellor Professor Gavin Brown

Chancellor, I have the honour to present Professor Douglas Donald McGregor for the conferring of the degree of Doctor of Veterinary Science (honoris causa).

Douglas McGregor graduated from the University of Western Ontario with a Bachelor of Arts in 1954 and with the Gold Medal in Medicine in 1956. After serving as a hospital clinician in Toronto he took up a postdoctoral fellowship in the laboratory of Sir Howard Florey in the Sir William Dunn School of Pathology at the University of Oxford, graduating with the Doctor of Philosophy degree in 1963. On returning to North America, he held research positions in experimental pathology at Case Western Reserve University, the University of Connecticut and the Trudeau Institute. In 1976 he was appointed Professor of Immunology in the College of Veterinary Medicine at Cornell University and Director of the James Baker Institute for Animal Health. From 1991 to 2001 he was Associate Dean for Research and Graduate Education in Veterinary Medicine at Cornell University and he is currently Director of Leadership and Training Initiatives in the Cornell College of Veterinary Medicine.

His research in cellular immunology has provided the basic knowledge for successful tissue and organ transplantation. He also discovered the mechanisms of infection by the bacteria Listeria and the parasite Trichinella. Under his Directorship, the James Baker Institute became the pre-eminent research laboratory in the USA, and probably in the world, for infectious diseases of companion animals. Although the Cornell College of Veterinary Medicine had a long standing reputation as the premier school in the USA in clinical training and practice it was not as widely known for research. As Associate Dean, Douglas McGregor increased its research funding base and productivity so that it also became the leading veterinary school for research.

Professor McGregor observed that most veterinary students had no interest in research. Their vocational commitment was to clinical practice. Even those of the highest academic distinction, did not consider using their talents to solve problems through research. He therefore decided to raise the awareness of students about the importance of fundamental research in advancing medical knowledge. He realised they needed to understand the challenges and rewards of careers dedicated to solving problems of disease of both humans
and other animals.

In 1990, he established the Cornell Leadership Program for Veterinary Students. Each year this Program brings to Cornell University, twenty five gifted students from veterinary schools around the world for ten weeks of high level research. This Program is made possible by funds raised by Douglas McGregor from sponsoring US Government agencies, private foundations and industry. Over the seventeen years since this Program began, students from fifty four veterinary schools around the world have been selected to participate. Seventy of these students have come from Australian veterinary schools and forty nine of these have been veterinary science students from the University of Sydney. Douglas McGregor’s generous initiative has had remarkable success. More than 50% of those who have participated in the Program have gone on to careers of distinction in academia, research and public health organisations and in the pharmaceutical industry. The contributions of brilliant young Australian veterinarians to discovery through research has undoubtedly increased as a result of their experience in Douglas McGregor’s Cornell Leadership Program.

Chancellor, I have great pleasure in presenting to you, for admission to the degree of Doctor of Veterinary Science (honoris causa), medical scientist and educator, Professor Douglas Donald McGregor.