Dr. Anthony Wayne Confer is among the 2015 inductees into the Oklahoma Higher Education Hall of Fame.
Confer, a faculty member of OSU’s Center for Veterinary Health Sciences since 1981, earned a bachelor’s degree in biology from Oklahoma State University in 1971 and his DVM in 1972. He also holds a master’s in veterinary pathology from Ohio State University and a Ph.D. in microbiology from the University of Missouri. He became a Regents professor in 2003 and holds the Walter Sitlington Chair in Food and Fiber Research at OSU.
Confer’s research is focused on bovine respiratory diseases, especially those related to pneumonia, which is the greatest cause of production loss and cattle death in the region. He has become one of the world’s experts in the field, with his work appearing in more than 200 refereed scientific journal articles as well as at least 129 published abstracts, 14 book chapters, 17 continuing education manuscripts and four veterinary medical educational manuscripts. He has obtained more than $9 million in research funding and holds two U.S. patents. Confer has been listed in Who’s Who in Frontiers of Science and Technology, Who’s Who in Science and Engineering, Who’s Who in Medicine and Healthcare, Outstanding Scientists of the 21st Century and American Men and Women of Science.
OSU recognized his contributions with its Eminent Faculty Award. In 1985 and 2011, he earned the Pfizer Award for Research Excellence. Over the years as a researcher at OSU, he has served on numerous committees of national organizations; acted as a manuscript reviewer for journals in veterinary medicine, microbiology and pathology; and served as a research grant evaluator for the USDA’s Competitive Grants Programs.
Confer is known as an inspirational teacher. He earned the Norden Distinguished Teacher Award twice and the Regents Distinguished Teaching Award in 2008. He was recognized by the OSU College of Veterinary Medicine with its Distinguished Alumnus Award in 2009.
His teaching style, which includes some unusual techniques to bring the knowledge to life for his students, has evoked admiration and imitation. He uses comedy, songs, poetry and cartoons to engage students. He and his colleague, Dr. Jerry Ritchey, sometimes bring their guitars to class and play classic rock songs with the lyrics changed to concepts in pathology or life as a veterinary student.
“The students love it,” he says, adding they remember the concepts because of the performance. In addition, throughout his career, he has provided veterinary pathology diagnostic service to Oklahomans and to train senior veterinary students and pathology residents in veterinary diagnostic pathology.
Confer is the third alumnus and fourth faculty member at OSU’s veterinary center to be inducted into the Oklahoma Higher Education Hall of Fame. Sponsored by the Oklahoma Higher Education Heritage Society, more than 200 leaders have been inducted into the Oklahoma Higher Education Hall of Fame since 1994.