After decades of service to the University of Findlay community, Findlay veterinarian Dr. C. Richard Beckett, D.V.M., has retired from its Board of Trustees. On Thursday, his accomplishments were formally recognized and celebrated by the board, which also conferred upon him trustee emeritus status.
When asked what he remembers most about his service to UF, Beckett mentioned working with President DeBow Freed, Ph.D., and current President Katherine Fell, Ph.D. In typical fashion, Beckett chose to heap praise upon others rather than speak about himself. Freed’s and Fell’s distinctive leadership, Beckett said, are how he and other University board members have addressed challenges and made proactive decisions that have and will benefit students for years to come.
Beckett remembers that after he met Freed at Freed’s home to discuss the possibility of becoming UF’s president, Freed courteously stood at the front door until Beckett drove out of sight. The gesture was the sort that made Beckett want to hire the man for UF’s top position.
“I’ll never forget Dr. Fell’s letter” of application to assume Freed’s role as president, Beckett said. “It was plain, simple, to the point. The way she expressed herself was elegant. She is a wonderful person,” he maintained.
“Dr. Beckett’s wisdom, vision and compassion have benefited the University of Findlay for decades,” said Fell. “He loves spending time with students, faculty and staff. His eyes light up when he talks about UF. Dr. Beckett has been a mentor and friend to me, and I will forever be grateful. We are all deeply blessed to have had him at the UF helm to guide and encourage us.”
Despite his modesty, Beckett’s accomplishments at UF are substantial. He has spent more than 40 years helping the University educate students from around the world. The Findlay Animal Clinic Founder helped establish UF’s Equestrian Studies Program in 1976, and he served as its first veterinarian. He was also responsible for launching the Pre-Veterinary Medicine Program in 1982, which is now the largest undergraduate program, and for establishing University Equine Veterinary Services, Inc. in 1997, which serves as a valuable community resource and provides students with experiential learning.
Watch a tribute video to Beckett here.
Beckett’s altruism at UF was administratively extended when he joined the Board of Trustees in 1985, and was elected chairman in 2002. Under his leadership, the goals were laser focused on student achievements and experiences. The UF campus physically grew and improved with the acquisitions of Winebrenner Village Retirement community (now the Village Residence Hall), and the former Owens Community College (now the Davis Street Building); and expansions to Henderson Dining Hall, the Mazza Museum, and Davis Street Building.
Providing opportunities for to earn advanced degrees was also important to Beckett. Therefore, graduate education also grew significantly under his tenure with the addition of nine programs, including UF’s first doctoral programs.
In 2007, Beckett helped create UF’s annual Symposium for Scholarship and Creativity, which showcases undergraduate and graduate research and projects. In 2009, the Dr. C. Richard Beckett Animal Science Building opened on the Western Farm south of Findlay. Also, his work with the Kake Educational Institution, of which he was named an honorary director, has led to a lasting partnership that helps bring global experiences to both UF and Japan.
His financial support to UF has also been generous, contributing to many funds and projects. He is a member of the C.T. Fox Legacy Society; and he established the C. Richard Beckett Pre-Veterinary Scholarship Endowment Fund, the Concert and Lecture Series and the Center for Student Life and College of Business.
For his outstanding leadership and support, Beckett was named a Distinguished Associate in 1994, was awarded an Honorary Doctorate of Entrepreneurial Business Development in 1996, and in 2014 was awarded the Ohio Foundation of Independent Colleges Earl F. Morris Trustee Award.
The University of Findlay is eternally grateful to Dr. Beckett for his invaluable support and guidance.