LSU Vet Med announces Distinguished Alumnus Awards

February 13, 2023

Distinguished Alumnus Award recipients

From left, Drs. Mark Mitchell, V. Hugh "Chip" Price, Michael Graziano, and Dean Oliver Garden.

On Saturday, February 11, 2023, the LSU School of Veterinary Medicine announced the 2022 Distinguished Alumnus Award recipents: Michael Graziano, MS (LSU 1981), Ph.D., Mark Mitchell, DVM, Ph.D. (LSU 2001), DECZM, and V. Hugh “Chip” Price, DVM (LSU 1980). The Distinguished Alumnus Award recognizes alumni of the LSU School of Veterinary Medicine for outstanding professional and personal achievements. Any graduate from Louisiana State University is eligible for the award. Candidates are recognized for their accomplishments in veterinary medicine or science and/or contributions to the community through public service.

Michael Graziano, MS (LSU 1981), Ph.D.

Dr. Graziano graduated from the LSU Vet Med Master of Science program in 1981. While he originally pursued a degree in veterinary medicine, he realized that his passion was for research. He was the first graduate of the LSU Vet Med Comparative Biomedical Sciences (CBS) Department, which was then called Veterinary Physiology, Pharmacology, and Toxicology. After receiving his Ph.D. in toxicology from the University of Kentucky and completing post-doctoral training at the University of California-Berkeley, he began his professional career at Parke-Davis/Warner Lambert Company in 1987. He joined Bristol-Myers Squibb in 2003 and became Vice-President of Drug Safety Evaluation in 2006.

After, a very short retirement, Dr, Graziano is now Associate Vice-President of Preclinical Development at Organon. Dr. Graziano started an Animal Science Graduate Student Scholarship at his alma mater, Rutgers University, and felt compelled to do the same for LSU Vet Med, since he has described the training he received there as laying the foundation for his career. The Graziano Scholarship will support a student pursuing a Masters degree in CBS. He genuinely believes in giving others opportunities to excel in the research realm and this scholarship will do just that. He also donates his time by serving on the Dean’s Advisory Council and by his willingness to speak at the CBS graduate retreat and at the Phi Zeta Research Emphasis Day.

Mark Mitchell, DVM, Ph.D. (LSU 2001), DECZM

Dr. Mitchell has dedicated his veterinary career to mentoring veterinary and graduate students and improving the health and lives of wildlife and exotic animals. Dr. Mitchell is a professor of zoological medicine at LSU Vet Med and director of our Wildlife Hospital. He is as passionate about teaching and research as he is about veterinary medicine. Since 1996, when he first joined the faculty at LSU, he has taught countless veterinary students and graduate students. Many of his trainees have become very successful clinician scientists running large wildlife conservation centers, heading up veterinary services at zoos, and running wildlife, epidemiology, and population medicine programs at other academic institutions. Some of his trainees also have become general practice veterinarians and researchers.

Dr. Mitchell is a renowned researcher, educator, and veterinarian. His research contributes significantly to improving the health of reptiles and wildlife with a focus on antibiotic resistance, reproduction, and epidemiology. He is a strong mentor and emphasizes hands-on experiences when teaching, which also includes advising and instructing the veterinary students who give 30-40 presentations each year about wildlife conservation and LSU Vet Med’s role in it.

Dr. Mitchell has also served as hospital director at LSU Vet Med, and in that role helped increase revenue and improve processes. Dr. Mitchell is an expert and leader in zoological medicine, epidemiology, and education, and, as such, is an exceptional ambassador for LSU Vet Med.

V. Hugh “Chip” Price, DVM (LSU 1980)

Dr. Price is a leader in the veternary medical profession. He has served as the director of animal resources and attending veterinarian at the LSU Health Sciences Center, Shreveport, La., for the past 38 years, facilitating research and ensuring researcher compliance. In addition to his clinical work, he has served in leadership roles in several veterinary organizations, with his many years of service to the American Veterinary Medical Association most notable. Dr. Price served as the Alternate to the AVMA House of Delegates and as a Delegate, both representing the Louisiana Veterinary Medical Association, playing a key role in the governance of the AVMA and the future of veterinary medicine. He served on the board of the LVMA and was president in 1999. He also served as District Director of the AVMA District VIII Executive Board from 2009-2015, serving as Vice-Chair and then Chair. Chip was a member of the Board of Directors of the American Veterinary Medical Foundation from 2010-2015, serving for three years as the vice chair. He also served on the board of the American Association of Laboratory Animal Science and was president in 2005. Dr. Price also served in the U.S. Army Reserve for 25 years and retired as a lieutenant colonel.

He has served on both the LSU Health Sciences Center Institutional Animal Care and Use Committee and the Biosafety Committee for the past 38 years. He served on the Radiation Safety Committee from 1984-2008. His input and expertise helped ensure regulatory compliance, and a safe work environment for his co-workers and students.

For the past 33 years, Dr. Price has instructed students in the physiology of the heart, circulatory system, GI tract, and the renal system. For the past 23 years, he has taught in the Philosophical and Ethical Issues in Science course, lecturing on the Use of Animals in Biomedical Research. And since 2000, he has taught in the Skills in Investigative Research course, lecturing on Skills in Animal Use in Research. His vast experience and expertise have benefitted nascent scientists in their understanding of and practice of humane animal care and use.

Dr. Price’s research has contributed to the study of cardiovascular disease and has received NIH funding to support his research. He also serves as the relief veterinarian for Chimp Haven, a retirement community for chimpanzees formerly used in scientific research. He provides expert care for those retired animal that contributed in a great way to medical advancements for humans. Only a handful of veterinarians could fill that role.

About LSU Vet Med: Bettering lives through education, public service, and discovery

The LSU School of Veterinary Medicine is one of only 32 veterinary schools in the U.S. and the only one in Louisiana. LSU Vet Med is dedicated to improving and protecting the lives of animals and people through superior education, transformational research, and compassionate care. We teach. We heal. We discover. We protect.