CVMA community celebrates 2019 award winners

CVMA community celebrates 2019 award winners

The veterinary community in Colorado would not be what it is without the commitment and service of veterinary professionals who go above and beyond to advance the profession and give back to the veterinary community. CVMA leadership and convention attendees were pleased to recognize the accomplishments and service of three notable veterinarians during CVMA Convention 2019 in Keystone, Colorado.

Jon Geller, DVM

2019 Veterinarian of the Year 

While it’s often easier to see clients within the comfort of an exam room, Dr. Jon Geller takes his veterinary practice to the streets. Dr. Geller donates his time each week to meet with patients in cars, parks, or homeless shelters during his Street Dog Coalition clinics, and is a role model for compassion in the veterinary community. His nominators describe him as a “remarkably compassionate and driven contributor to the profession and to the community with kindness that knows no boundaries.” He is also a staunch supporter for veterinarians and veterinary students and serves as a visiting instructor and mentor at Colorado State University.

Dr. Geller graduated from CSU in 1995 following a 15 year stint as a building contractor in southern Colorado. Although tracking large animal, he began a mixed animal mobile practice around Fort Collins and then starting doing emergency relief to help with some income gaps. With the help of some partners, he founded emergency clinics in Longmont, Greeley, Fort Collins, and Grand Junction. After a 20 year stint in the ER, he has now moved on to focusing on nonprofit work with The Street Dog Coalition, which provides free veterinary care to pets of the homeless, and The Ladybug Fund, which provides middle-of-the-night assistance to pet owners facing financial hardship. He currently still resides in the same house in Fort Collins that he purchased when he moved there with his wife and two daughters for vet school in 1991.

Congratulations, Dr. Geller, and thank you for your exceptional dedication to the underserved in Colorado.

Emily Graves, VMD, MS, DACVIM (LAIM)

2019 President’s Award

When it comes to commitment to continuing education for veterinary professionals in the state of Colorado, Dr. Emily Graves is the name that comes to mind for most. As chair of CVMA’s Education Commission, Dr. Graves has worked tirelessly the last several years to craft quality, engaging CE programs for veterinarians of all backgrounds and practices.

Dr. Graves earned her VMD from the University of Pennsylvania in 1999. She went on to complete an equine internship, then a residency in equine medicine from 2000-2003, followed by completion of a MS degree from Michigan State University in 2005. With over 20 years in the veterinary industry, she has worked in a variety of roles, including private practice, academia, mobile equine medicine consulting, and relief work. Dr. Graves is currently a senior large animal veterinarian for Zoetis’ Veterinary Medical Information and Product Support team, supporting the cattle and equine businesses. She enjoys cooking, traveling, downhill skiing, and time spent with her family, including her husband, Eric, her son, Mike, and her dog, Nivea.

Thank you, Dr. Graves, for your outstanding commitment to continuing education for the veterinary profession in Colorado and dedication to ensuring a bright future for CVMA.


Ray Whalen, DVM, PhD

2019 Distinguished Service Award 

The best advancements in veterinary medicine often come from individuals who have an infectious enthusiasm for sharing knowledge with others. Dr. Ray Whalen is one of these exceptional individuals. Dr. Whalen has been described as a “revolutionary educator” who engages in continuous improvement to ensure an impactful, lasting legacy. He has supported generations of DVM students who have received exceptional training in veterinary neurology at Colorado State University. From the sheer number of letters CVMA received in support of his nomination for this award, it is clear that this individual has impacted countless lives and continues to do so.

Dr. Whalen earned his DVM from the University of California-Davis in 1976 and later earned his PhD in Comparative Pathology from UC Davis in 1982. He was hired by Colorado State University later that year and has been with the university ever since. He has held a variety of titles in the Department of Biomedical Sciences that include Associate Head, Director of the Neuroscience Division, and Director of Preclinical Curriculum. Before classroom computers were commonplace, Dr. Whalen set out to develop a computer program to allow students to interact with a 3D computer model for anatomical learning. His Virtual Canine Anatomy Program is used around the world, even by human medical schools that are interested in developing virtual human anatomy programs based off his model.

Congratulations, Dr. Whalen, and thank you for your revolutionary spirit and commitment to growing the next generation of veterinary minds in Colorado.