Colorado State University Names Two University Distinguished Professors, Highest Tribute Bestowed by the University

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Colorado State University named two faculty as University Distinguished Professors, one of the highest academic recognitions awarded by the university. President Larry Penley today announced the recipients in a special ceremony at the annual Celebrate Colorado State awards luncheon.  

The two recipients, Dr. Stephen Withrow, Colorado State University Animal Cancer Center, and Louis Hegedus, Department of Chemistry, join the prestigious rank of professors following their endorsement by the elite fellow University Distinguished Professors.

A maximum of 12 current faculty members at the university may hold the rank of University Distinguished Professor, which is a permanent designation. To obtain the rank, faculty members are nominated through an extensive review process and must be approved by the current University Distinguished Professors. President Larry Penley approved the selections and secured endorsement from the university’s governing board.

"The position of University Distinguished Professor is conferred upon truly extraordinary faculty members," Penley said. "Dr. Withrow and Professor Hegedus are internationally renowned faculty who are committed to leading Colorado State with excellence, dedication and pioneering intellect. Faculty such as these set Colorado State’s course into continued academic excellence."

Each University Distinguished Professor receives a special medallion and a permanent base salary increase of $7,500. Current members of the group are Patrick Brennan, microbiology; Edward Hoover, pathology; Gordon Niswender, physiology; Holmes Rolston III, philosophy; George Seidel, physiology; Gary Smith, animal sciences; Thomas Vonder Haar, atmospheric science; Bernard E. Rollin, philosophy; Robert Williams, chemistry; and Barry Beaty, microbiology.

Dr. Stephen Withrow

Dr. Stephen Withrow, a veterinarian who has gained international status and acclaim for cancer research, gains status as a University Distinguished Professor following an impressive career in animal cancer research, including ground-breaking research benefiting companion animals as well as humans. Among his many contributions to cancer research and treatment, Withrow developed a limb-sparing technique to treat osteosarcoma, a malignant bone tumor in dogs. This technique revolutionized treatment of this disease and has been widely adopted in human cancer centers.

Twenty-five years ago, Withrow established Colorado State’s Animal Cancer Center, now the largest animal cancer center in the word. The center has trained more veterinary surgical, medical and radiation oncologists than any other veterinary institution and is the only veterinary cancer group to have more than 25 consecutive years of funding from the National Cancer Institute. Withrow has been a 10-year project leader for the National Cancer Institute.

The center, a branch of the Veterinary Teaching Hospital within the Department of Veterinary Medicine and Biomedical Sciences, has pioneered numerous surgical, radiation therapy and chemotherapy procedures for animals with cancer. The center treats up to 2,000 pets a year with cancer and handles a volume of 10,000 appointments. The center also is home to the Argus Institute, a unique center studying the human-animal bond and providing grief resources to pet owners.

Withrow led a major campaign to build a new facility for the center in 1998, and successfully raised $9.3 million for a new wing on the Veterinary Teaching Hospital, the largest privately-funded building in the university’s history.

In addition to directing the Animal Cancer Center at Colorado State, Withrow has maintained a commitment to work in the clinic, seeing patients as a surgical oncologist 50 percent of the time. This commitment provides a hands-on, personal involvement with the center. He also holds the Stuart Endowed Chair for Oncology.

Withrow is the only veterinary fellow of the Musculoskeletal Tumor Society, a prestigious international society of elite orthopedic physician oncologists. He founded the Veterinary Cooperative Oncology Group, an association of 20 private practices and universities that cooperate in clinical trials. He was a charter member of the American College of Veterinary Internal Medicine Oncology board and is a board-certified member of the American College of Veterinary Surgeons, one of only three people to be board-certified in both disciplines.

During his tenure at Colorado State, Withrow has established two endowed chairs and raised more than $20 million in private funds. His career has been recognized with the Gains award, the highest honor a clinical veterinarian can receive, from the national veterinary associations of two countries, Canada in 1978 and the United States in 1990.

In addition to his many commitments at Colorado State, Withrow has volunteered for 23 years as a counselor and fund raiser for the Sky High Hope Camp for children with cancer, earning him the Ronald McDonald House Volunteer of the Year award in 2003.

Professor Louis S. Hegedus

     Professor Hegedus, John K. Stille Chair of Chemistry and a faculty member at Colorado State for more than 30 years, has made international contributions to organic and organometallic chemistry research, focusing on building a foundation of basic science research in the field that provides a springboard to future discoveries in new chemical reactions.

     Hegedus’ career has focused on researching modern organometallic chemistry, or the chemistry of a group of chemical compounds that consist of bound carbon and metal. This field plays an important role in today’s society by providing a foundation for new types of chemical reactions that create new chemical transformations and compounds that previously were not available.

     Since starting at Colorado State in 1971, Hegedus’ research projects have been granted more than $6 million, with the majority of those funds coming from the National Science Foundation and the National Institutes of Health. His worked helped to spark the popularity of modern organometallic chemistry, a growing field of research.

     Hegedus’ research has centered on basic scientific discoveries in useful chemical reactions in organometallic chemistry that are a catapult for further research by private and public organizations. For many years, his work has focused on synthesis of chemicals that, for example, creates a foundation for the development of antibiotics and antiviral compounds and helps to form the methodology that creates various compounds for new medicines as well as new developments in the production of petroleum products and plastics.  

     Hegedus also is credited with providing leadership and vision in creating the recently completed Yates Hall on campus.

     With the publication of several major textbooks and papers, Hegedus is reputed to have had more impact in training organic chemists in the principals of organometallic chemistry than any other researcher.