Since its founding in 1885, the Ohio State Veterinary Medical Center has never had a woman director. That changed April 11, when Karin Zuckerman took over.

“I think it’s great,” Zuckerman said. “Eighty percent of veterinary students are women, so I think it’s pretty fitting.”

Melissa Weber, director of communications and marketing for the OSU College of Veterinary Medicine, said she thinks Zuckerman brings an openness to the position.

“She’s an information seeker. She doesn’t have any preconceived notions,” Weber said.

Zuckerman also brings a different range of experience to the center.

“Most of the prior directors have been veterinarians. I have more of a health services side of things,” she said.

An Ann Arbor, Mich., native, Zuckerman attended DePauw University in Indiana for her bachelor’s degree and earned master’s degrees in health services administration and business administration from the University of Michigan. Despite growing up in that state up north, Zuckerman said she’s also a Buckeye fan.

“I cheer for both … except for when they play each other,” she said, though she had nothing to say about how the OSU-Michigan football game has gone the last few years.

Zuckerman spent a year working at Nationwide Children’s Hospital and the OSU Medical Center before returning to work at the Children’s Hospital for eight more years. She then became chief executive officer of the Easter Seals Central and Southeast Ohio, a nonprofit organization that provides services to people with disabilities, for 13 years.

“It is obviously very different, but there’s really a lot of similarities,” Zuckerman said of her switch from working with humans to animals. She explained that both share many of the same medical specialties and issues.

Zuckerman said she’s learning to love all the animals that visit the VMC, but there are some differences.

“I’m not used to hearing cows mooing,” Zuckerman said.

Zuckerman’s starting salary is $140,000, Weber said. The former director of the $15 million VMC was Dr. Grant Frazer, who worked in the College of Veterinary Medicine for 20 years, ending with $156,400 salary.

Lindsay Shirk, a third-year in animal sciences, said she thinks Zuckerman’s health services background puts a nice spin on things.

“A lot of the work we do overlaps anyway,” she said, and added that it’s a plus to have female representation in the veterinary field.

As for plans for the VMC, Zuckerman said she’s just trying to meet the faculty and staff and become more acquainted with her position, for which she was hired in February.

“In order for me to be a good director, I need to know what’s happening,” Zuckerman said. “My job is to ensure that this faculty and environment is the highest quality so that patient care and teaching is the best we can possibly make it.”