As dean, I recognize how uniquely positioned we are as a college to address some of our communities’ most pressing problems—from our local community to our global community. Our strengths in innovative education, biomedical research, animal medical care, diagnostic testing, and global health are just a few of the things that make us so exceptional here at WSU.
We are one of few veterinary colleges in the country to educate undergraduates in biomedical sciences in addition to our exceptional graduate education and professional veterinary medical education programs. Recently, we added a paraprofessional certificate program to train individuals that will support our veterinarians and veterinary technicians and drive forward competency-based, online innovative education.
Our commitment to improving people’s lives through broad community outreach is inspiring.
Healthy animals, healthy people, healthy planet is who we are.
Dean’s Leadership Council
The council aims to provide advocacy, guidance, and feedback to advance the college. The 12-person council is made up of distinguished alumni, donors, and community and industry leaders.
Dr. Marty Becker (’80 DVM) has dedicated his life to advancing the health of pets and the human-animal bond. Known as “America’s Veterinarian,” Becker founded Fear Free, an organization that works to prevent and alleviate anxiety and stress in pets by inspiring and educating those who care for them. He also established FearFreeHappyHomes and FearFreeShelters which provide knowledge and tools for veterinary professionals, the pet rescue community, and pet parents to care for their animals’ physical and emotional wellbeing. Becker is an adjunct professor at Washington State University’s College of Veterinary Medicine. He also teaches at Colorado State University and the University of Missouri’s Colleges of Veterinary Medicine. Dr. Becker has written 23 books that have sold more than 8 million copies – and include three New York Times bestsellers. He also has a nationally syndicated pet/vet column through Universal Press. He supports several animal shelters across Idaho and serves as an advisory board member for World Vets, an international veterinary aid and disaster response program.
Paul Casey (’75 BA) is an entrepreneur, business consultant, and founder of Casey Communications, a Seattle-based communications and marketing firm. Prior to starting his business, Casey served in state government as a community affairs director. He also worked as public affairs manager for a public relations firm and helped oversee the Downtown Seattle Tunnel Project. In 1985, Casey became the first executive director of the Alzheimer’s Association of Western Washington. The author of two books, “Is Self-Employment for You?” and “Preflight Checklist: Is Self-Employment for You?”, Casey is also a radio show host. In 2018, he launched Voices of Experience, a one-hour weekly podcast about public affairs, travel, education, finance, and entrepreneurship. While at WSU, Casey served two terms as student body president. He is a former chair of the Murrow Professional Advisory Board and a current Trustee with the Washington State University Foundation. Casey and his wife, Marti, are benefactors of the WSU Foundation.
Robert Esch (’75 BS, ‘78 MS) has made significant contributions to the fields of microbiology and immunology as a leader, researcher, and educator. For nearly four decades, Esch has guided organizations and science professionals in pioneering solutions to global health challenges. He served as an industry representative to the U.S. Food and Drug Administration’s Allergen Products Advisory Committee, the Consortium of Food Allergy Research, and the Inner-City Asthma Consortium. He has held several positions with the American Academy of Allergy, Asthma, and Immunology and was the chief scientific officer at Greer Laboratories, which specializes in the diagnosis and treatment of allergies. Esch and his wife, Katherine, share a passion for science education reflected across decades of philanthropy at WSU. In 2020, they established the Robert and Katherine Esch Fund for the School of Molecular Biosciences Faculty Development, which provides opportunities for WSU’s College of Veterinary Medicine faculty in molecular biology research. Esch is currently an adjunct professor at the University of North Carolina School of Medicine.
Dr. Sarah Frech (’93 DVM) is a senior biotech executive with 25 years of experience working in global vaccine and drug research where she oversaw strategic planning related to product evaluation from preclinical and clinical data, through license authorization. Her work has included multimillion-dollar clinical trial development and execution, data collection and analysis, and presentation of information to international regulatory authorities and other key stakeholders. Prior to joining the pharmaceutical industry, Dr. Frech worked in a mixed-animal veterinary practice in Eastern Washington and Idaho, and then moved to Austria where she worked at the United Nations Industrial Development Organization on a project to assist women entrepreneurs in developing countries and the International Atomic Energy Agency in the Agency’s Office of Technical Cooperation evaluating project impact. Her Peace Corps experience in Benin, West Africa, included the design and implementation of a vaccination program for small ruminants and poultry, and was the experience that crystallized her decision to study veterinary medicine.
Dr. Frech holds a Doctor of Veterinary Medicine from Washington State University and a Master of Public Health from Johns Hopkins University. She received her undergraduate degree in Art History from Dartmouth College where she was a two-year captain of the varsity basketball team and competed for the varsity equestrian team. Dr. Frech speaks French, German and Dendi.
Dr. Elizabeth Fritzler (’91 DVM) has made exceptional contributions across the spectrum of veterinary medicine as an advocate for veterinary students and an experienced practice administrator. In 2006, she earned a Certificate in Veterinary Practice Administration from Purdue University’s Veterinary Management Institute, and she is board certified in veterinary practice management. She has served on the board of directors for the Certified Veterinary Practice Manager Program and the Veterinary Hospital Managers Association. In 1999 Fritzler and her husband, Dr. Timothy Kraabel (’89 DVM), purchased their first hospital, Lien Animal Clinic, where she assumed the role of hospital administrator. In 2016, Fritzler, Kraabel, and a colleague established the Cascade Heights Veterinary Center in Seattle. Fritzler serves as the hospital’s administrator, and her son, Geoffrey Kraabel (’19 DVM) is an associate at the practice. Throughout her career, Fritzler has mentored WSU veterinary students during their preceptorships and provided support throughout their externships at the Seattle Humane Society. In her free time, she enjoys reading, spending time with her horses, and traveling with her family.
Dr. Timothy Kraabel (’89 DVM) dreamed of being a veterinarian from childhood. He fulfilled his dream at WSU and joined Lien Animal Clinic in the fall of 1990. In 1999, he purchased the clinic with his wife and fellow veterinarian, Dr. Elizabeth Friztler (’91 DVM). In 2007, Kraabel earned a Certificate in Veterinary Practice Administration from Purdue University’s Veterinary Management Institute. Four years later, he became board certified in canine and feline practice. He served on the American Board of Veterinary Practitioner’s Council of Regents from 2013-20, and as president from 2018-19. He has also been an adjunct professor and mentor at WSU’s College of Veterinary Medicine. In 2016, Kraabel and Fritzler partnered with an associate to launch Cascade Heights Veterinary Center where their son, Geoffrey Kraabel (’19 DVM) is an associate. In 2019, Dr. Timothy began offering telemedicine at Lien. During the pandemic, he expanded the clinic’s telemedicine operations and practiced entirely remotely for eight months.
Dr. Kerri Marshall (’81 BS, ’85 DVM) is a pioneer of veterinary innovation. After a decade in private practice and on the veterinary staff at UC Davis, she joined Banfield Pet Hospital in 1995. There she served as director of operations and led the design of the organization’s patented electronic medical record system and the medical record sharing system. In 2011, Marshall joined the executive team at Trupanion, a pet medical insurance provider, where she led the technology and claims teams and developed Trupanion Express, a patented veterinary direct-pay software system. From 2016-19, Marshall was the chief veterinary officer and on the board of directors for BabelBark, a pet healthcare management platform. In 2019, she joined Compassion-First Pet Hospitals as Chief Information Officer and vice president of innovation. She currently serves on the advisory board of Airvet (pet telehealth), BasePaws (pet genomics), and Fear Free Pets. A second-generation veterinarian (both parents received their DVM at WSU in 1958), Marshall has been a generous contributor to WSU veterinary scholarships for more than 20 years. Marshall’s professional mission is to expand the positive influence of veterinarians on pets’ lives and to eliminate economic euthanasia by improving access to pet care and affordability.
A mom, runner, nature lover, and veterinarian with a passion for creating a sustainable and thriving veterinary profession globally in support of the human animal bond. In my role as Chief Medical Officer at Banfield Pet Hospital, I seize the opportunity to help improve the health and wellbeing of veterinary professionals to build an industry in which we can better serve today’s pets and their owners. Healthy vets. Healthy pets. Healthy communities.
For more than 25 years, Barb Mendelson has helped build a legacy of generosity at Washington State University. She and her husband, Joe, have been enduring advocates for WSU’s College of Veterinary Medicine−though neither attended WSU. In 1996, the couple made their first gift to the college in honor of their dog Scout, who had been treated in Arizona by Dr. John Oplinger (’79 DVM). In 2010, they made another extraordinary donation to purchase a 16-slice spiral CT scanner that exponentially improved the Veterinary Teaching Hospital’s diagnostic capabilities. When their whippet, Pre, died in 2013, the Mendelsons continued their tradition of honoring their pets by making an additional gift. Barb is a certified public accountant and has been in practice since 1980. She is the current chair of Golden Gate University’s Board of Trustees and serves on the board of directors of Lourdes Senior Community in Michigan. She is also a WSU Foundation Board of Trustees emerita.
Joe Mendelson’s generosity has opened doors to the future for WSU’s College of Veterinary Medicine faculty, students, and research programs for more than two decades. Through transformational contributions, Mendelson and his wife, Barb, have supported the college’s mission by creating opportunities and empowering innovation across its veterinary programs. Though neither attended WSU, the Mendelsons made their first gift to the college in 1996 in honor of their dog Scout, who had been treated by alumnus Dr. John Oplinger (’79 DVM) in Arizona. In 2010, the couple made an extraordinary donation for the purchase of a state-of-the-art 16-slice spiral CT scanner that exponentially improved the Veterinary Teaching Hospital’s diagnostic capabilities for small and large animals. When the Mendelson’s whippet, Pre, died in 2013, the couple honored their beloved pet with an additional gift. Mendelson is a personal investment manager and a WSU Foundation Advocate Emeritus. He and Barb are passionate about Standardbred horses and Whippets.
Lindsay Roitman implements and manages strategic communications, public affairs policies, fundraising, and other key initiatives for corporations, national political organizations, and philanthropic groups. Since 2019, she has been the director of Microsoft’s MSPAC, acommitteeresponsible for oversight of Microsoft’s political spending. Prior to this role, she was senior philanthropy director for the Climate Leadership Initiative, a nonprofit committed to accelerating climate solutions. From 2015-16, she served as the Northwest deputy national finance director for Hillary Clinton’s presidential campaign and was the finance director for Washington Sen. Maria Cantwell’s campaign from 2011-13. She has been a senior advisor and vice president of development for the American Association for Justice, an organization dedicated to protecting civil justice. As senior technical recruiter at Microsoft from 1999-2005, Roitman helped initiate Microsoft’s Explorer Program to diversify the pool of qualified candidates for the company’s college internships by engaging women and minority students. For more than a decade, she has served as director of Powerful Voices, an organization dedicated to activism, civil justice, and leadership opportunities for girls.
Dr. Samuel H. Smith has dedicated his life to opening doors of opportunity for students. From 1985-2000, Smith served as Washington State University’s eighth president and helped launch WSU’s Vancouver, Tri-Cities, and Spokane campuses. During his tenure, he also promoted distance learning programs that expanded into the university’s Global Campus. Smith’s improvements to education, international programs, and increased opportunities for women and minorities have received national and global recognition. A former faculty member at the University of California and Pennsylvania State University, he also held leadership roles at both schools. He served terms as chair for the NCAA and the National Association of State Universities and Land-Grant Colleges. Since retiring, Smith’s passion for educational access and development has continued. He is a founding board member of Western Governors University and the College Success Foundation, an organization that provides scholarships and mentoring to low-income students. Smith previously served on the Washington State Higher Education Coordinating Board. Smith holds bachelor’s and doctoral degrees in plant pathology, in addition to four honorary doctoral degrees.
Emeritus council members
Dr. Jennifer Welser serves as chief medical and quality officer for Mars Veterinary Health where she leads medical affairs across the organization. She also partners with chief medical officers from Mars-affiliated practices to expand access to innovative veterinary care and support Mars Petcare’s purpose: A Better World for Pets. Welser previously served as chief medical officer for BluePearl Veterinary Partners where she helped establish the company’s clinician-driven culture and developed its medical leadership team and operations. She also evolved the practice’s residency and internship program. Before joining BluePearl, Welser practiced at the Massachusetts Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals’ Angell Memorial Animal Hospital, and she owned a successful veterinary ophthalmology practice in California. Welser received her DVM from Michigan State University in 1996. She then completed a rotating internship at Auburn University, followed by an ophthalmology residency at Animal Eye Associates in Illinois. She is a board-certified veterinary ophthalmologist.
Jennifer served on the inaugural council until the spring of 2023.