Honorary Doctors

The Faculty of Veterinary Medicine has chosen to bestow honorary doctorates on ten prominent figures in their own field.

The President of the Republic of Finland Sauli Niinistö

The then Minister of Finances Sauli Niinistö held a crucial role when the College of Veterinary Medicine was incorporated as a new faculty into the University of Helsinki. The decision taken was not easy and required a strong vision about the future of veterinary medicine in Finland.

Due to this decision, the Faculty of Veterinary Medicine was founded in 1995. In these 20 years we have been able to see that the decision taken was the right one. It has enabled both the unforeseen rise of Finnish veterinary research in an innovative research environment, and the high level of Finnish veterinary education, also internationally acknowledged.

President Niinistö is an exemplary friend and advocate of animals.


Matti Aho, Lic.V.M.

The Director General of the Finnish Food Safety Authority Evira, Matti Aho, is a Licentiate of Veterinary Medicine with long experience on food hygiene. After his degree he has also received qualifications as inspection veterinarian, food hygienist and specialized veterinarian in food and environmental hygiene.

Matti Aho worked at the Ministry of Agriculture and Forestry 1997-2012, first as the Assistant Head and then as the Head of the Department of Food and Health, as well as the Chief Executive Officer of Veterinary Medicine in Finland. He was a member of the Faculty Council of the Faculty of Veterinary Medicine from 2010 to 2014.


Professor Ian Dohoo

Ian Dohoo is Professor Emeritus of Epidemiology at the University of Prince Edward Island in Charlottetown, Canada. He is a leading researcher in veterinary epidemiology who publishes actively. He is one of the pioneers in the creation of computer-based follow-up methods used in animal health research.

Prof. Dohoo has meritoriously taught the fundamentals of epidemiology to several generations of veterinarians. His courses, e.g. the yearly NOVA courses of the Nordic countries, have formed the basis for the epidemiological and statistical know-how of many Finnish researchers, and still continue to do so for the greater part of the doctoral students of the faculty. Furthermore, he has authored course books for veterinary epidemiology. Prof. Dohoo is an exceptionally motivating and good teacher who has been able to inspire his students. He has received several prizes for teaching and research as well as honorary doctorates from the University of Guelph and the Swedish University of Agricultural Sciences.


Professor Michel Georges

Professor Michel Georges is a veterinarian and a geneticist who works as director of research in the cluster of applied genetics and proteomics at the University of Liège (Groupe Interdisciplinaire de Génoprotéomique Appliquée). He is one of the most highly esteemed researchers in the field of domestic animal genetics.

Among his contacts with the Faculty of Veterinary Medicine can be mentioned his collaboration with several research groups. Also, many groups have participated in research training courses he has organized in Liège. Prof. Georges has given lectures also at the Faculty of Agriculture and Forestry and at the Institute of Biotechnology. Furthermore, he has participated in the LUPA project “Canine disease genomics”, funded by the FP7 of the European Commission, and its executive group together with a representative from the Faculty of Veterinary Medicine.


Eeva Kuuskoski, Med.Lic.

Eeva Kuuskosi was a member of the parliament between 1979 and 1995, as well as the Minister of Social Affairs and Health 1983-1987 and 1991-1992. While carrying out these duties, she promoted significantly the collaboration between veterinarians and physicians within the framework of the One Health concept.

Eeva Kuuskoski has showed particular interest in environmental health and its integral part, food safety. She has considerably furthered decisions that have improved food safety in Finland, and has had an important role in the development of Finnish food hygiene training and practical measures. Moreover, Eeva Kuuskoski was active in bringing about the teaching of veterinary medicine in Helsinki.


Esa Manninen, MSc.

Extension manager Esa Manninen is undeniably one of the leading experts in the field of milking, both in Finland and abroad. Finnish animal husbandry has gained much from his expertise, which combines practical knowledge with extensive theoretical knowhow. He is one of the forces behind the Nordic dairy organization NMSM and the International Dairy Federation (IDF), where he has developed the standards and practices of the discipline.

Esa Manninen has trained veterinarians and compiled teaching material on milking techniques and machinery, as well as the effect of milking on milk hygiene and udder health, for more than 20 years. He has brought necessary knowledge on dairy cattle and milk hygiene teaching to the faculty. Besides teaching merit, he has collaborated for several decades with researchers of veterinary medicine. He has also been a member of the advisory boards of several projects of the faculty’s researchers, and has been active in numerous working groups.


Adjunct Professor Anne Marie de Passillé

Anne Marie de Passillé is an internationally esteemed researcher focusing on the behaviour of production animals. She has retired from the position of senior researcher at Agri-Food Canada but continues her research work as Adjunct Professor at the University of British Columbia.

In 1995, Dr. de Passillé, and her husband working in the same field, started collaborating with the researchers of the then new field of science in Finland, the study of animal welfare and behaviour. It is largely due to her that the faculty’s researchers on the subject are today very well connected internationally and active in the scientific community. The teaching, guidance and research collaboration of the faculty with Anne Marie de Passillé has enabled the development of a once minor field of study into one of international renown.


Erkki Pyörälä, Lic.V.M.

Erkki Pyörälä is a teacher who has greatly influenced the veterinarians presently active in Finland. For decades he took care in an exemplary way of practical teaching, first in Hautjärvi and then in Saari. With his natural pedagogic talent, calmly and with patience, he was able to create an excellent atmosphere for learning.

Erkki Pyörälä was the leading figure at the clinic whose opinion, guidance and help was always sought after. All these he gave freely, often spiced with kind humour. He was one of those members of the profession who has had a great influence on the ways of teaching and of operating, and on the raising of interest and appreciation in the eyes of students. Moreover, Erkki Pyörälä has been the Chair and Vice-Chair of the Professional Ethics Board of the Finnish Veterinary Association.


Professor Emeritus Charles E. Short

Charles E. Short is Professor Emeritus of Anesthesiology and Pain Management of Cornell University’s College of Veterinary Medicine, as well as one of the founding members of the American College of Veterinary Anesthesiologists. Prof. Short received his degree of veterinary medicine from Auburn University, Alabama, in 1958, his MS degree in physiology and medical electronics from Baylor University, Texas, in 1971, and his doctoral degree with honours from Åbo Akademi.

After retiring from Cornell University, Prof. Short has continued in teaching by giving numerous lectures in different parts of the United States and Europe. He consults actively in questions related with animal anaesthesiology and pain relief. He has participated in Finnish studies and doctoral dissertations on anaesthesiology and pain management, as well as in several co-authored publications with Finnish research groups. Finnish colleagues have visited him in the United States to deepen their knowledge in animal anaesthesiology. Prof. Short’s visits and lectures in Finland still continue.


Professor Roger Stephan

Professor Roger Stephan has been the Director of the Institute for Food Safety and Hygiene of the University of Zürich since 2003. He received his degree in veterinary medicine in 1990, his doctorate in 1994 and his post-doctoral habilitation in 2001.

Prof. Stephan is one of the leading researchers on food safety in Europe and sits on the editorial boards of several highly acknowledged international journals. He has more than 200 publications in peer-reviewed journals, has written several book chapters, and has supervised more than 50 dissertations and 3 habilitation works. He collaborates with the researchers of the Faculty of Veterinary Medicine at the University of Helsinki and has been involved in the training of Finnish veterinarians. Additionally, he has had the role of an esteemed scientific expert at the faculty.