Richardson became the college's 11th dean in summer 1998 after serving as the head of the clinical sciences department at Purdue University. Richardson received his Doctor of Veterinary Medicine from Kansas State University in 1970, completed an internship in small animal medicine and surgery at Purdue in 1973, a residency in small animal internal medicine at the University of Missouri in 1975, and a training program in clinical oncology at the University of Kansas Medical Center in 1978.
"I plan to continue in a faculty role with the college and the university, hoping to use my abilities in program building and my background in comparative medicine to continue strengthening collaborative programs that benefit K-State," Richardson said. "I have a real sense of urgency to see our plans for the future become reality, but I want the college and the university to have plenty of time to conduct an orderly search for my replacement."
"Dean Richardson has led the College of Veterinary Medicine during a time of great change in both veterinary medicine and higher education," said April Mason, Kansas State University provost and senior vice president. "He has been the champion of many innovative programs, including the U.S.-China Center for Animal Health, which involves students and scholars from both countries together in efforts toward better veterinary health. I am most appreciative to Dean Richardson for announcing his future plans early so that a search for his successor can be conducted and assure a smooth transition of leadership."
Under Richardson, enrollment in the veterinary college saw controlled growth from a graduating class of 79 students in 1998 to a current class size of 112 for each incoming class. More than $72 million has been raised in private support for the college, including the creation of 150 scholarships and seven permanently endowed professorships.
To ensure opportunities for Kansas State University undergraduate students and to enhance recruitment of exceptional students, the college's Early Admission Program was started in 1999. Richardson had an active role in helping to promote the Veterinary Training Program for Rural Kansas, which offers a debt repayment incentive for graduates to work in rural practices in Kansas. The college initiated a D.V.M./Ph.D. program to provide training for alternate careers paths such as for working in research laboratories and academia. The college is also part of the university's interdisciplinary Master of Public Health Program that allows students to work in one of four different areas of emphasis, including infectious diseases and zoonoses, food safety, public health nutrition and public health physical activity.