Thursday, May 24, 2007
Cornell Vet School Appoints Wildenstein to Faculty Position
Cornell University Resident Farrier Michael Wildenstein CJF, FWCF (Hons) has officially been promoted to the position of Adjunct Associate Professor of Farrier Medicine and Surgery in The Department of Clinical Sciences, College of Veterinary Medicine, Cornell University.
The university is also announcing plans to enlarge the farrier shop and to expand the student enrollment to four per semester. This includes farrier students and veterinarians who wish to serve a podiatry internship at Cornell with Mike.
In 2008, Cornell will also be hiring another farrier to work with Mike for six months of the year, and Mike will be encouraged to lecture and teach outside of Cornell.
Michael Wildenstein CJF FWCF (Hons) has served as Cornell’s resident farrier for more than 15 years. Over that period he set goals for his career and exceeded them, culminating with the award of a Fellowship with Honors from the Worshipful Company of Farriers in England. Only three other farriers can boast of that degree with honors; the fellowship alone is akin to a PhD in farrier science. Having the fellowship awarded "With Honors" is the ultimate recognition.
Along the way, Wildenstein authored a book, hosted conferences, lectured around the world, was inducted into the horseshoers’ hall of fame—while somehow managing to train farriers in the farrier school and tend to all the hoof-related medical and surgical support needs of the vet school. He also serves as a consulting editor to our own Hoofcare and Lameness Journal. One of his H&L articles, on deep sulcus thrush, was the first place award winner in the category of "horse care education" in the American Horse Publications awards in 2006.
Wildenstein announced his resignation from Cornell this winter when it looked like he had hit the ceiling for his job description. Offers were coming in from other schools and private industry, so he submitted his resignation and looked around the world to see what might be out there. Now, he’s looking at new opportunities within Cornell.
In Cornell’s early years, farrier Henry Asmus was assistant professor of surgery at the vet school. Henry was a German immigrant and protege of the great farrier Anton Lungwitz in Dresden, Germany, as was John W. Adams, the farrier lecturer and professor of surgery at the University of Pennsylvania who translated Lungwitz’s “Textbook of Horseshoeing” into English. (It’s still in print!)
While Adams migrated into medicine, Asmus put Cornell on the world map of horseshoeing by making a mission of educating rural blacksmiths and farmers and by authoring papers filled with progressive and innovative solutions to hoof problems. He established the farrier school at Cornell, which is still operating and is the oldest school in the USA, and wrote pamphlets for the US Government on shoeing and farm horse care. Until the 1930s, Cornell vet students were required to study farriery and one of their "lab" hours was time spent working in the forge with Professor Asmus.
Henry left a legacy at Cornell for leadership in the farrier profession. The legacy was at times endangered, and Asmus’s faculty position disappeared after his retirement. Later farrier instructors--legendary farriers Eugene Layton, Harold Mowers and Buster Conklin--held staff positions and upheld the school’s reputation for excellence. Cornell has always educated farriers from within the vet school and has continuously offered a conference open to all farriers for the past 24 years.
So Mike Wildenstein’s new position at Cornell is nothing new in the rich historical annals of the esteemed university. But in our changing times, when farriers are working so hard to contribute to the welfare of horses, the fact that one university is reopening the faculty to a farrier is a meaningful milestone to thousands of farriers who spend their days crouched under horses, studying the hooves in their hands with equal intensity to any scholar in a laboratory.
As an added boost, Mike's appointment received a vote of confidence from the polling of the entire Cornell vet school faculty.
Hoofcare & Lameness sends warm congratulations to both Mike and Cornell. As a post script, I can tell you that Mike did not attain his advanced degrees with the goal of this recognition and a promotion on the job. He did it because he wanted to be the very best at farrier that he could be. That will always be the best formula for success, in any job, in any life. The rest, if Mike's experience is any proof, will follow.
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