Philanthropy at Work

Philanthropy at Work: Dr. Monica Aleman is renowned globally for her clinical and research expertise in equine neurology and neurosurgery.
Dr. Monica Aleman, the Dr. Terry Holliday Equine and Comparative Neurology Presidential Chair, is renowned globally for her clinical and research expertise in equine neurology and neurosurgery.
Dr. Joanne Paul-Murphy (right) serves as chief of the Companion Exotic Animal Medicine and Surgery Service.
Dr. Joanne Paul-Murphy (right), the Messmer Family Presidential Chair in Companion Exotic Animal Medicine and Surgery Service, serves as chief of the service.
Marcia Messmer is a generous donor to the school, a member of the Dean’s Leadership Council and a lifelong animal lover.
Marcia Messmer is a generous donor to the school, a member of the Dean’s Leadership Council and a lifelong animal lover.

Inaugural Presidential Endowed Chairs Enhance Clinical Innovation and Patient Care

Thanks to the generosity of donors, the school established its first presidential endowed chairs—one of the most prestigious honors a faculty member can receive. Chancellor Gary May appointed Dr. Monica Aleman as the Dr. Terry Holliday Equine and Comparative Neurology Presidential Chair and Dr. Joanne Paul-Murphy as the Messmer Family Presidential Chair in Companion Exotic Animal Medicine and Surgery Service.

UC President Janet Napolitano launched the program to expand the number of endowed chairs who are essential to discovering innovative approaches to some of the worlds most critical challenges. The University of California provides a matching contribution for each presidential endowed chair appointment to attract and retain top-notch faculty. These two endowed chairs are part of a competitive process to add 100 endowed faculty chairs to the UC system over five years.

Dr. Alemans appointment as the Dr. Terry Holliday Equine and Comparative Neurology Presidential Chair was effective March 1, 2019 for a five-year term. She is renowned globally for her clinical and research expertise in equine neurology and neurosurgery. As an internist, she provides a range of patient care services for horses and investigates unusual clinical presentations to ascertain the underlying pathophysiology. In collaboration with colleagues, Aleman has also refined the accuracy of diagnostic tests and explored genetic associations for specific equine diseases. She is a diplomate of the American College of Veterinary Internal Medicine: Large Animal Internal Medicine and the American College of Veterinary Internal Medicine: Neurology and Neurosurgery.

"It's hard to overstate the importance of endowed faculty chairs to UC's teaching and research mission," said UC President Janet Napolitano. "By supporting these endowed chairs, donors will be creating a lasting legacy at the universityone that will benefit many generations to come."

An anonymous donor created the Dr. Terry Holliday Equine and Comparative Neurology Presidential Chair to advance research in equine neurology and to honor the late Dr. Holliday, one of the first graduates of the school and a pioneer in veterinary neurology/neurosurgery.

Dr. Paul-Murphy was appointed as the Messmer Family Presidential Chair in Companion Exotic Animal Medicine and Surgery Service on November 1, 2019. With Paul-Murphys direction, the faculty of this clinical service established the nations first residency training program for veterinarians specializing in Zoological Companion Animals. She is acclaimed for her research in pain management, pharmacokinetics and pharmacodynamics in analgesics, euthanasia methods for avian field studies, and parameters of health and disease. Paul-Murphy is a diplomate of the American College of Zoological Medicine and was a member of the organizing committee to establish the American College of Animal Welfare.

Marcia Messmer, a member of the Deans Leadership Council and a lifelong animal lover, created the Messmer Family Presidential Chair in Companion Exotic Animal Medicine and Surgery Service through a generous gift to ensure that the work of the service advances companion exotic animal health well into the future. Loyal clients of the veterinary hospital, she and her family have supported the program for more than 15 years. Also dedicated to sustaining the excellence of the university, Messmer is a newly appointed trustee to the UC Davis Foundation Board.

"The life of every companion animal, no matter its species, is important,” Messmer said. “I hope the Messmer Family Chair will ensure that our #1 ranked School of Veterinary Medicine will always provide both curriculum in avian and exotic medicine for its students, and excellence in clinical veterinary care for all exotic creatures—our most fragile and vulnerable companions.”

These presidential endowed chairs will help UC Davis continue leading the way in veterinary medicine and setting the standard for clinical care, training and research.

“We are sincerely grateful to the Messmer family and to the donor honoring Dr. Holliday for their generosity, and appreciate their foresight in supporting clinical innovation and patient care,” Dean Michael Lairmore said. “In partnership with the Presidential Match for Endowed Chairs program, they give our school a competitive edge for retaining and attracting faculty who are the very best in their field.”