Weale and Lester Honored with Distinguished Service Award

Weale and Lester Honored with Distinguished Service Award

Lincoln Memorial University-College of Veterinary Medicine (LMU-CVM) presented Dr. John Weale and Dr. Bob Lester Distinguished Service Awards for their innovative work and service to LMU-CVM and the veterinary medicine community.


The Distinguished Service Award is presented to an individual who has, through his or her personal and professional achievements, demonstrated a strong commitment to the premise that the cornerstone of meaningful existence is service to humanity. Through his or her accomplishments, the Distinguished Service Award recipient will have excelled in the following areas: serving the health and wellness needs of people within both the Appalachian region and beyond; enhancing access to comprehensive health care for underserved communities; supporting quality health care professions programs; and embracing quality, patient-centered care. The Distinguished Service Award recipient is an individual that values diversity, public service and leadership and demonstrates an enduring commitment to professionalism and the highest ethical standards.


Lester is a graduate of Oregon State and Washington State Universities and a graduate of the American Association of Veterinary Medical Colleges Leadership Academy. He spent his early career as a small-town mixed animal practice owner before joining the founding leadership team at Banfield Pet Hospital. At Banfield he held positions in medicine, operations, franchising, human resources and professional relations. After a rewarding twenty-year career at Banfield/Mars Inc. he left as Vice President of Professional Relations. He spent the last four years on the founding team at LMU-CVM where he served as Assistant Dean of Clinical Relations. He continues to lead the LMU-CVM practice management course. Lester and colleagues most recently founded WellHaven Pet Health, a veterinary lead group practice that empowers veterinary leaders through personal and professional development. WellHaven Pet Health both buys and builds quality companion animal primary care practices.


In addition, Lester serves on a variety of professional, university, and college committees, boards and task forces including as a two time gubernatorial appointee to the Oregon Veterinary Medical Examining Board which he chaired from 2013- 2015, a state delegate to the American Association of Veterinary State Boards, a site team member for the Council on Education, consultant for Guidepoint Global, board member and Treasurer at Pet Peace of Mind a non-profit which keeps hospice patients together with their pets through end of life, and a board member for the North American Veterinary Community.


“Dr. Lester was one of the first eight persons on board as a founder of the college, and I vividly recall countless 5:30 a.m. and 9 p.m. coffees, with a few of us gathered around a white-board, dreaming about the college that could be,” said LMU-CVM Vice President and Dean Jason Johnson. “You see, Bob is a true visionary, drawn to the academic side to help create a more market relevant veterinary graduate, and his fresh ideas, out-of-the box thinking, and positive attitude are truly a part of the LMU-CVM success, and the distributive model story. He and his team built our foundation, and his fingerprints are all over everything we do.”


Weale is a 1987 graduate of The Ohio State University College of Veterinary Medicine (OSU). Prior to veterinary college, he attended Vanderbilt University and received two degrees in biomedical engineering. He entered companion animal clinical practice and worked as an associate and practice owner. He was co-director of a four-doctor AAHA practice in the Columbus Ohio area. While in clinical veterinary medicine, the practice was awarded a Pfizer practice of excellence award that recognizes business management principles and staff and client engagement. Additionally, Weale has been involved in the Ohio Veterinary Medical Association (OVMA) having served on numerous committees and eventually president of the OVMA. For his outstanding service to the Ohio veterinary community, he has been twice recognized at OVMA Veterinarian of the Year. Weale decided to enter academic veterinary medicine in 2008 and has been on faculty at OSU, Ross University and LMU-CVM. Weale is past Associate Dean of Clinical Relations and Outreach at LMU. Most recently Weale has been recognized with the Deans Award for Leadership at LMU. He is leading the veterinary distributive learning group, Consortium of Workplace Based Education and Learning (COWBEL). Weale has been a COE site representative since 2018.


“Dr. Weale has been with the college since nearly the very beginning, and much like Dr. Lester, he is a visionary pioneer who sought to create a better educational model. An engineer and a DVM, his brilliant aptitude for designing the details of how the distributive model would work, and actually have positive, accountable outcomes is remarkable. And what he designed worked, and it is working extremely well,” said Johnson. “His unending and uncompromising focus on producing practice-ready graduates was our college’s compass, and will continue to be. He has an innate ability to identify quality learning and business partnerships, increase the quality of experiential learning, and bring fresh ideas to the future of veterinary learning.”


Lincoln Memorial University (LMU) is a values-based learning community dedicated to providing educational experiences in the liberal arts and professional studies. The LMU-College of Veterinary Medicine is located on LMU’s main campus in Harrogate, Tennessee, with additional academic facilities in nearby Lee County, Virginia. LMU-CVM is an integral part of the University’s medical programs and provides real-world, community-based education in a collaborative learning environment. For more information about LMU-CVM, call 1.800.325.0900, ext. 7150 or visit us online at vetmed.LMUnet.edu.

Back to previous page