Dean’s Leadership Council designed to guide college into future

Members of the Dean's Leadership Council pose outside the Veterinary Teaching Hospital. Left to Right: Kerri Marshall, Dori Borjesson, Paul Casey, Tim Kraabel, Bob Esch, Elizabeth Fritzler, Jennifer Welser. Not pictured: Marty Becker, Joe Mendelson, Barb Mendelson, Lindsay Roitman, Samuel Smith.

The College of Veterinary Medicine’s Dean’s Leadership Council aims to provide advocacy, guidance, and feedback to advance the college.

The 12-person council, made up of distinguished alumni, donors, and community and industry leaders, visits campus every year to connect with college leadership and explore the college’s facilities.

“They are already friends of the college and will now serve as ambassadors and connectors—they are a source of new ideas and a sounding board for our vision moving forward,” said Washington State University College of Veterinary Medicine Dean Dori Borjesson.

In addition to two annual in-person visits, the group also meets virtually. 

The council recently visited the college’s simulation-based clinical education program and the developing public health initiative that is tied to the college’s one health and global health programs.

Kerri Marshall, a second-generation veterinarian and WSU College of Veterinary Medicine alumnus, fills one of the dozen seats on the council.

Marshall joined Banfield Pet Hospital in 1995 where she served as director of operations and led the design of the organization’s patented electronic medical record system. She has contributed to WSU veterinary scholarships for more than 20 years.

She was particularly impressed with the Clinical Simulation Center, where WSU veterinary students can practice surgery before ever performing on a live patient.

“The dean’s council is a brilliant idea of bringing people together who are dedicated to the university and have real-life experience,” Marshall said. “For me, it’s part of providing guidance so we can make sure the students come out with the tools to be successful.”

Meet the Dean’s Leadership Council

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. 

Paul Casey (’75 BA) is an entrepreneur, business consultant, and founder of Casey Communications, a Seattle-based communications and marketing firm. Prior to 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. While at WSU, Casey served two terms as student body president. 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 four decades, Esch has guided organizations and science professionals in pioneering solutions to global health challenges. 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 an adjunct professor at the University of North Carolina School of Medicine.

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. 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.

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 in 2018-19.

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. Marshall currently serves on the advisory board of Airvet (pet telehealth), BasePaws (pet genomics), and Fear Free Pets. A second-generation veterinarian of two WSU alumni, Marshall has been a generous contributor to WSU veterinary scholarships for more than 20 years.

Joe Mendelson has generously 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. The Mendelsons made their first gift to the college in 1996 in honor of their dog Scout. 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. Mendelson is a WSU Foundation Advocate Emeritus.

Barb Mendelson has helped build a legacy of generosity at Washington State University for more than 25 years. 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. Barb is a certified public accountant and has been in practice since 1980. She is a WSU Foundation Board of Trustees emerita.

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, a committee responsible 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.

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. 

Dr. Jennifer Welser serves as chief medical and quality officer for Mars Veterinary Health. 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 established the company’s clinician-driven culture and developed its medical leadership team and operations. 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. She is a board-certified veterinary ophthalmologist.