Richard Lawrence Witter
AAAP Hall of Honor

Richard Witter, normally known as Dick, was born in Bangor, ME.  Dick completed B.S and D.V.M. degrees at Michigan State University, and M.S. and Ph.D. degrees at Cornell University. He worked at the USDA-ARS-Avian Disease and Oncology Laboratory (ADOL), East Lansing, MI from 1964-2002. He served as the Director of ADOL from 1975-1998, balancing administrative responsibilities with an active personal research program. Following retirement in 2002, he served as a Collaborator with his former laboratory.
He was Scientific Advisor for the ARS-Former Soviet Union Scientific Cooperation Program (2002-2007).  He was a past president of the American Association of Avian Pathologists (1987) and initiated the AAAP biography project in 1997.
He is known especially for his research on Marek’s disease (MD) vaccine development, elucidation of viral pathotypes, and documentation of the evolution of MD virus to greater virulence.  He also contributed to knowledge on reticuloendotheliosis virus and on avian leukosis virus.
He is olated the FC126 strain of turkey herpesvirus (HVT) which became the basis of the first MD vaccine used in the United States.  He described synergism among certain MD vaccine viruses, and developed standardized techniques to classify MD virus strains by pathotype.  He authored the AAAP Tumor Diagnosis Manual and wrote a 50-year history for AAAP and a 75-year history for ADOL.
His many awards include the ARS Hall of Fame, Poultry Hall of Fame, and honorary doctorates from the Tierärztlichen Hochschule, Hannover, Germany and the University of Guelph, Ontario, Canada. He was elected to the National Academy of Sciences (USA) in 1998.
Dick and Joan, his wife of 50+ years, enjoy gardening, music and travel. They have two children, Jane and Steven. Dick’s retirement interests include hunting, fishing, photography, and community volunteer work.  The family “camp” in Maine has been a special retreat for 4 generations of Witter’s.