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Wednesday, January 19, 2011

Dr. Stephen Ettinger receives Mark Morris Sr. Lifetime Achievement Award

by Donald F. Smith, Cornell University;
Posted January 19, 2011.

Dr. Stephen Ettinger received the Mark Morris Sr. Lifetime Achievement Award last Saturday evening at the North America Veterinary Conference in Orlando, Florida. One of North America’s premier annual veterinary recognitions, it is given to the individual who has contributed most significantly to small animal medicine over his or her career.

Dr. Stephen Ettinger (right) with one
of his mentors, Dr. Robert Kirk
Photo 2009 by author.
Please see addendum below.
 My letter and others that comprised Dr. Ettinger’s nomination contained glowing testimonials to his remarkable achievements as a pioneer and leading scholar in veterinary cardiology, a world-recognized textbook author and educator, an ambassador of the veterinary profession, and a champion of affirmative action.

In my nomination letter, I described how Steve’s career began at the Animal Medical Center in New York City after he graduated from Cornell in 1964. I wrote about his passion for comparative medicine as he articulated it to the students in my veterinary history course last spring. “It was a heady time in science”, Dr. Ettinger told them. “President Kennedy’s proclamation that we would land a man on the moon before the end of the 1960s encouraged innovative work in medicine, computing, physics and biology. It also motivated leaders from these fields to work together in the advancement of science.

Though Dr. Ettinger has an extraordinary list of career accomplishments, he is quick to credit—as he did in his acceptance speech on Saturday—the Cornell alumni and professors who guided him during the formative years in his career. “This award really honors those who have come before and who have mentored me in the medical sciences, the business world and within our veterinary community,” he said.

Mentoring has remained a high priority for Dr. Ettinger throughout his career, whether it be pre veterinary and veterinary students, interns and residents, junior faculty or—as he gave special tribute in his acceptance speech—his own sons, Michael, Robbie and Ricky.

Addendum: January 19, 7:00 pm:
Sadly, I was informed late this afternoon that Dr. Robert Kirk, beloved mentor to Dr. Ettinger, died this morning. In tribute to the relationship between Drs Ettinger and Kirk, I have decided to retain this blog that also includes the photo of these two giants taken after sharing a happy lunch near Ithaca, NY, on August 9, 2009. Cayuga Lake is in the background.
Dr. Smith invites comments at
Steve was energized by the potential of interdisciplinary research with physicians and biomedical scientists, and he established relationships with medical cardiologists and internists, as well as researchers at the Rockefeller Institute. He also became a leading advocate for the development of the new clinical specialty of cardiology.