The legacy of Jerrie Gavalchin will live on, due in part to a new memorial fund established this past summer in her honor. Gavalchin, associate professor of animal science, died May 3 in a bicycling accident near her home in Groton, NY. The campus community knew her as a beloved teacher, mentor and autoimmune disease expert.
Named the Animal Science Excellence Fund, this resource was made possible with initial support from Gavalchin’s colleagues in the Department of Animal Science, and it is actively accepting contributions. Gifts will be used to establish the Jerrie Gavalchin Memorial Award, which will be given to a senior majoring in animal science. Those who make a gift online must be sure to indicate that their gift is in memory of Jerrie Gavalchin.
Gavalchin’s research focused on autoimmune disease and immunology in animals, developing new strategies to improve animal health and production. As a teacher, she maintained the largest undergraduate advising load in the department and mentored hundreds of students since joining Cornell in 1999 — advising on careers related to veterinary medicine and animal health.
Students recalled the hours that she spent answering questions about course material, advising on career paths and writing letters of recommendation. They said that she always took the time to learn about their lives and support their other interests.
“Anyone who interacted with Jerrie knew that she was passionate about her work,” said Tom Overton, professor and chair of the Department of Animal Science. “She was a source of both encouragement and inspiration to students. Though she’ll be deeply missed, this fund and the planned memorial award it supports will help carry on her incredible work.”
Gavalchin is survived by her husband, Carl Batt, a professor in the Department of Food Science, and their daughter, Samantha Batt '16.
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