A faculty member’s legacy
December 10, 2018
If you graduated from the veterinary college, Marion Ehrich, professor emerita of pharmacology and toxicology and co-director of the Laboratory for Neurotoxicity Studies, has influenced your life. “I was here on the first day. I taught the first class, on their first day,” Ehrich shared, reflecting on her time at the college. Ehrich is a loyal faculty member and donor who not only gives to the graduate program each year, but also supports our Doctor of Veterinary Medicine students through the establishment of a scholarship.
Ehrich began her career in Blacksburg as a postdoctoral research associate at what is now the Center for One Health Research. In 1980, she was hired by the veterinary college; the college was brand new, and Ehrich taught the first students – and every graduate of the college since then.
When speaking about her motivation to give to the college, Ehrich reflected on an experience with her students when her father, Herman Fiedler, passed away. “I found out at 5:00 a.m. and taught an 8:00 a.m. class. After the lecture, I told the students that I would not be proctoring their pharmacology exam the next day because of what happened…and the students sent flowers out to Minnesota for the funeral. It was very touching.”
At that point, Ehrich realized how caring the students were during a tough time in her life, and wanted to give more than just her time and expertise back to them. “My dad loved visiting this place,” Ehrich reminisced, and therefore decided to establish the Fiedler Scholarship as a way to honor her father and support the students that have been such a big part of her life.
Ehrich’s involvement with her students continues well beyond their graduation ceremony. “Students have turned into faculty. It has been wonderful to see them grow, and I am proud of every single one of them,” she said. Her dedication is evident by all the time she continues to invest, even following her recent retirement. When asked why she continues to give each year to the college, Ehrich explained, “I love this veterinary college; it is my work home. The students, the staff, the faculty colleagues are great… I am trying to pay forward what the college has given me.”