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Dr. Atkins Named Seaks Distinguished Professor

Clarke Atkins, a professor of medicine and cardiology, has been named the recipient of the Jane Lewis Seaks Distinguished Professorship for Companion Animal Medicine.

The distinguished professorship is endowed by Terry G. Seaks—a member of the North Carolina Veterinary Medical Foundation Board of Directors—to honor Jane Lewis Seaks, his wife of 38 years, and in recognition of the care their family pets have received at the College of Veterinary Medicine Veterinary Teaching Hospital.

“I am pleased to announce that Dr. Atkins is the recipient of this distinguished professorship,” said CVM Acting Dean David Bristol. “We are, of course, extremely grateful to Terry and Jane Seaks for their generosity. This endowed professorship represents a milestone in building the long-term financial support critical to the continuation of our college mission.”    

The $1 million endowed professorship is made possible through a financial arrangement in which a donation of appreciated securities by Terry and Jane Seaks is matched by an unrestricted gift from the R.B. Terry Charitable Foundation and the University of North Carolina General Administration through its Distinguished Professor Endowment Trust Fund.

“We understand the importance of named professorships to retain and attract faculty members who have enabled the CVM to rank consistently among the top veterinary programs in the nation,” said Seaks, a professor emeritus of economics at University of North Carolina, Greensboro. “We made this gift to help ensure that long after Jane and I are gone, our contribution will continue to generate earnings to support great professors, such as Clarke Atkins, as they advance treatments for animal and human medicine.”

The couple became involved with the CVM following the care their cats received from the Veterinary Teaching Hospital (VTH). In 1997, Snowball was diagnosed with a kidney condition and referred to the VTH. Dr. Atkins determined that the renal problems were secondary to a rare but treatable heart condition and the eight-year-old Snowball recovered and lived another eight years. A second cat, Fluffy, lived to be 21 thanks to two different life-saving surgeries at the VTH to remove cancerous lung tumors. 

“Terry and Jane Seaks are great friends of the CVM,” said Dean Warwick Arden, who is serving as Interim Provost of NC State University. “Their previous gifts of endowed student scholarships and three “Coats of Excellence” have strengthened our clinical service and teaching missions. The Jane Lewis Seaks Distinguished Professorship for Companion Animal Medicine is not only an asset to the CVM but a benefit to pet owners and the future animal health and well being.”

Dr. Atkins, who joined the NC State in 1989, is a 1972 graduate of the University of California, Davis. Dr. Atkins completed his internship at the Angell Memorial Animal Hospital in Boston. He became board-certified by the American College of Veterinary Internal Medicine in internal medicine in 1978 and in cardiology in 1992.

Dr. Atkins is known for his research and teaching in small animal cardiology, having authored more than 150 publications, a multimedia interactive computer program in canine cardiology, and numerous textbook chapters. In addition, he has spoken extensively in the United States, as well as in many countries around the world.

“While I am truly and deeply honored to have received this honor, it is the Seaks’ generosity which should be recognized,” said Dr. Atkins.  “They have been selfless and enthusiastically supportive of the College of Veterinary Medicine at North Carolina State University and the advancement companion animal medicine for many years. They are truly wonderful people to whom we owe a large debt of gratitude.”

Re-posted April 9, 2010