2022 Alumni Achievement Award Recipients

2022 Alumni Award Recipients

Each year the School of Veterinary Medicine honors members of its alumni with the Alumni Achievement Award. This award is the highest honor bestowed by the school. Honorees may be graduates of the school's DVM, MPVM, and graduate academic (MS, Ph.D.) programs, or individuals who have completed internship or residency programs. A Rising Star Alumni Award honors a DVM graduate of the school who, within 15 years of graduation, has demonstrated outstanding professional achievement.

The 2022 Professional Achievement Award recipients:


Jeffrey Boehm DVM '90

Jeffrey Boehm DVM '90

Dr. Boehm receives this award for outstanding contributions to improving the health of aquatic animals while considering aquatic populations and addressing welfare through enduring programs. Dr. Boehm is Chief Executive Officer of the Marine Mammal Center, the world’s largest marine mammal hospital, leading a vibrant dedicated community operating out of 4 sites on the California coastline and in Hawaii. A founding Diplomate and past president of the American College of Animal Welfare, he was the 2021 recipient of the American Veterinary Medical Association Animal Welfare Award. Initially, after graduation, Dr. Boehm was a veterinarian for the Los Angeles Zoo, then for 17 years led a diverse professional management team at the Shedd Aquarium in Chicago as Senior Vice President and Louis Family Conservation Chair before appointment at the Marine Mammal Center. Throughout his career, Dr. Boehm has overseen the development and refinement of numerous veterinary protocols, procedures, and techniques to advance the humane care and welfare of aquatic species and also of individual marine mammals in distress. Dr. Boehm has been a champion for the conservation and welfare of marine mammals and the survival of critically endangered species while concurrently improving public and policy maker understanding of the importance of aquatic ecosystem health and advancing community-based conservation and animal welfare globally.

Laurel Gershwin BS '69, DVM '71, Ph.D. '79

Laurel Gershwin BS '69, DVM '71, Ph.D. '79

Dr. Gershwin is recognized for extraordinary contributions to sustaining animal health with an emphasis on facilitating care for pets of those otherwise unable to access or afford veterinary services.  A board-certified veterinary microbiologist and Distinguished Professor emeritus of Immunology, Dr. Gershwin served on our faculty for 44 years. A former department chair, acting associate dean for research, and service chief, Dr. Gershwin had a primary research focus on the immunopathology of viral pathogen/host interaction, studying bovine respiratory syncytial virus (RSV) in calves, an important disease in cattle, and also as a model for human RSV, an important pediatric disease, as well as studying the immunology of allergy and airway hypersensitivity. She was recognized with the School’s Excellence in Animal Health Research award and the American Association of Veterinary Immunologists Distinguished Veterinary Immunologist award. In 1996, Dr. Gershwin was the founding faculty advisor for the monthly Mercer Clinic for Pets of the Homeless in the Sacramento region and she has had a sustained presence with this program since its inception. Dr. Gershwin is also a volunteer veterinarian for the One Health Clinic for pets of low-income migrant workers in Knight's Landing. In these settings, Dr. Gershwin provides important clinical practice guidance for veterinary students in indigent settings, increasing student awareness of multicultural and socioeconomic aspects of the delivery of veterinary services that is not replicated in their clinical training through our teaching hospital. This award recognizes her leadership, inspirational passion, and sustained support of the Mercer Clinic for more than 25 years. 

Christopher Murphy, Ph.D. '84 Comparative Ophthalmology Resident '84-'87, SOM Fellow '92

Christopher Murphy, BS ’78, DVM ’83, Ph.D. '84 Comparative Ophthalmology Resident UCD '84-'87, SOM Cornea Fellow UCD ‘87-‘89

Dr. Murphy is honored for his distinctive leadership and professional contributions to comparative ophthalmology and vision science, and the relentless support of his trainees. After completing an ophthalmology residency, Dr. Murphy became the first Corneal Fellow in the UC Davis School of Medicine. Distinguished Professor Emeritus of the Schools of Medicine and Veterinary Medicine, Dr. Murphy has been a champion of comparative and translational vision science research, with a primary focus on corneal disease - in particular corneal healing. A board-certified veterinary ophthalmologist with a bibliography exceeding 300 publications, Dr. Murphy has been recognized with many awards including the Cello, Schalm, Ramsey, and Dobbs Lectureships, the Society of Toxicology Career Achievement Award in Ocular Toxicology, the Pfizer Excellence in Research Award, and the American Veterinary Medical Association Lifetime Career Achievement Award in Research. His research has been continuously funded by the National Institutes of Health National Eye Institute and he has made substantial contributions to the fields of comparative ophthalmology, visual optics, bioengineering, biomaterials, and translational therapeutics.  As founder, CEO, and managing member of a number of entrepreneurial companies including Ocular Services On Demand (OSOD), Dr. Murphy has assisted in bringing many ocular therapeutics to market as treatments for challenging ophthalmic conditions including age-related macular degeneration (Lucentis®, EYELEA®) and dry eye disease (Xiidra®). His enduring commitment to impactful translational research and his multidisciplinary, collaborative approach has served as a model for his colleagues and an inspiration for his trainees. His impact in veterinary and human ophthalmology, as well as vision science writ large is a direct result of his advanced clinical and surgical skills, infectious teaching style, research achievements, creative entrepreneurial ventures, and - above all - the tireless support he provides his trainees.​​

Click here to see the 2022 Rising Star recipient.