Richardson has served as dean of the College of Veterinary Medicine at Kansas State University since 1998 and will be succeeded by Tammy Beckham, currently director of the Institute for Infectious Animal Diseases in College Station, Texas.
"We are confident Dr. Richardson's strengths and leadership in the animal health area, knowledge of the Kansas City community and administrative acumen will continue to build on the education, training and research K-State Olathe provides to the Kansas City area," said April Mason, Kansas State University provost and senior vice president. "The Olathe campus is critically important in our efforts to become a Top 50 public research university by 2025, and we appreciate Ralph's willingness to serve in this key position."
Prior to joining K-State, Richardson was the department head of veterinary clinical sciences at Purdue University from 1987 to 1998. During his time at Purdue, Richardson conducted research in the area of human-animal comparative medicine, specifically the way naturally-occurring cancer in companion animals could serve as a model for human cancer treatments.
"I look forward to helping grow the opportunities that K-State Olathe provides for Kansas State University, the state of Kansas and for the Greater Kansas City region," Richardson said. "This campus provides an ideal platform to engage university, private industry, government and our state's greatest concentration of private citizens. I am excited about building on the foundation that has been laid, growing existing programs and exploring future opportunities."
Richardson has encouraged collaboration between the College of Veterinary Medicine and the university's Biosecurity Research Institute, a bio-safety level 3 facility adjacent to the Veterinary Medicine complex that researches pathogens that threaten humans and livestock. Under Richardson's leadership, the college has established a microbiology lab at K-State Olathe, the Rabies Laboratory in Manhattan and a satellite hospital in Omaha, Nebraska. Despite decreased state resources, annual expenditures of the College of Veterinary Medicine have grown each year during Richardson's tenure through increased research funding, hospital and diagnostic laboratory revenue and gifts.
He has served in leadership positions for several Greater Kansas City programs, including the board of directors of the Kansas City Animal Health Corridor, the American Royal, and many governmental, civic and biomedical programs.
In addition to his leadership roles in the Greater Kansas City area, Richardson is active in numerous academic, professional and scholarly societies. With specialties in oncology and internal medicine, he is a member of the American Veterinary Medical Association, the Association of American Veterinary Medical Colleges and the Veterinary Cancer Society, among others. Richardson was named the Kansas Veterinary Medical Association's Veterinarian of the Year in 2003 and the Paws Veterinarian of the Year from the Indiana Division of the American Cancer Society in 1996.
Richardson received his bachelor's degree in biology in 1969 and a Doctor of Veterinary Medicine degree in 1970, both from Kansas State University.
Richardson succeeds Dr. Prema Arasu, who is joining the faculty in the Department of Diagnostic Medicine and Pathobiology. Dean Vakas is serving as the acting CEO at K-State Olathe in the interim.