Ed McLeary Distinguished Professorship in Aquatic Animal Health

ln 1945, Ed McLeary and Ken Drew founded Troutlodge in a small house in Soap Lake, Washington. Today the enterprise has grown to become the world's largest producer of trout eggs. air shipping more than 300 million eggs throughout the U.S. and to more than 30 countries annually. A key to Troutlodge's pioneering success has been their meticulous attention to quality as assured by rigorous health safeguards.

In 1994, discussions between Troutlodge and the Washington State University College of Veterinary Medicine resulted in yet another pioneering milestone for the aquaculture industry. Since foreign and domestic diseases represent a great threat to both farmed and wild salmon and trout, researchers at WSU designed and implemented the nation's first aquatic animal health inspection service offered by a state veterinary diagnostic laboratory and approved by the United States Department of Agriculture. 

The service is available through the Washington Animal Disease Diagnostic Laboratory housed in the veterinary college. With Troutlodge's remarkable industry experience as guidance and under the aquatic animal disease expertise and leadership of WSU veterinarians, laboratory guidelines for fish health inspection services were written. The guidelines were so well matched to the industry's needs and the needs of society for quality assurance that the USDA adopted them as the benchmark for all other laboratories seeking to provide similar services. Submissions to WSU's service have grown more than 20-fold and now represents a significant economic impact to Washington.

The foresight of Troutlodge, WSU, and the Washington State Legislature brought about the nation's first USDA approved aquatic animal health inspection service based in a fully accredited veterinary diagnostic laboratory. Private funding will ensure that aquatic animal health remains a primary area of focus in the WSU veterinary college in service to the industry. 

The Ed McLeary Distinguished Professorship in Aquaculture is a unified effort among Pacific Northwest aquaculture producers to permanently endow all aspects the industry's interest in a healthful product capable of competing effectively in any of the world's marketplaces. 

Troutlodge pledged a lead gift to match dollar for dollar all gifts up to a total of $250,000. This generosity established the Ed McLeary Distinguished Professorship in Aquatic Animal Health among the most prestigious of all positions in higher education in the nation. 

Join us in supporting this distinguished professorship position.

The Ed McLeary Distinguished Professorship in Aquatic Animal Health position is currently held by Thomas B. Waltzek.

Waltzek studied marine biology at Florida State University and graduated with a BS in 1998. He then enrolled at the University of California, Davis, where he studied the functional anatomy and ecology of cichlid fishes and received an MS in 2002. Between 2002 and 2010, Thomas continued his studies in a dual DVM/PhD program at UC Davis focusing on fish health. He received a DVM in 2009 and finished his PhD dissertation on the evolution and ecology of viral diseases of aquatic vertebrates in 2010. In 2011, he joined the University of Florida as a postdoctoral research associate to begin the surveillance and characterization of emerging aquatic animal pathogens. He accepted the position of assistant professor in the UF College of Veterinary Medicine in 2012. In 2018, he earned the rank of associate professor at UF. His research at UF focused on emerging pathogens impacting both aquatic wildlife and aquatic animal industries. In 2021, he joined the USDA aquaculture trade staff in support of the National Aquaculture Health Plan and Standards.

In the summer of 2023, Thomas joined the Washington Animal Disease Diagnostic Laboratory and Department of Veterinary Microbiology and Pathology, College of Veterinary Medicine, Washington State University as an associate professor. Dr. Waltzek serves as the Ed McLeary Distinguished Professor in Aquatic Animal Health. In his spare time, Tom enjoys spending time with his two daughters and wife traveling, scuba diving and exploring this underwater world through photography.

Aquatic Health - Health screening and diagnostic testing for marine and freshwater fish.

Questions about giving? Contact Lynne Haley or 509-335-5021.

To make a gift by mail:

Please make your check out to “WSUF” (Washington State University Foundation) and indicate the fund name. Send the check to:

College of Veterinary Medicine
Attn: Development Office
PO Box 647010
Washington State University
Pullman, WA 99164-7010

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