Dr. Ben Harrington

Who is Dr. Ben Harrington and why is the Food Animal Mentorship Award at the CVM named in his honor?

Ben Davis Harrington, DVM (March 22, 1931- December 2, 1997) was a veterinarian from central North Carolina.  In his University of Georgia alumni obituary, he is described as “nationally and internationally recognized for his knowledge of herd health and animal nutrition.” (UGA Class Notes).  Dr. Harrington’s career included veterinarian private practice and education as a professor at NC State's College of Veterinary Medicine.

In 1953, Harrington graduated from North Carolina State University with his undergraduate degree in Animal Husbandry (see him in the NC State Agromeck, 1953)  He went on to receive his degree in veterinary medicine magna cum laude from the University of Georgia in 1957. 

Dr. Ben Harrington with NCSU CVM Students

Photo of Dr. Ben Harrington, 1986. NCSU CVM Yearbook, Vetcetera.

Life as a Veterinarian

Harrington worked for Boulevard Animal Hospital (Raleigh, NC) and then owned Apex Veterinary Hospital in Apex, NC for 25 years.  He owned and operated dairy and horse farms.  Dr. Harrington was appointed a member of the committee to determine the development of a College of Veterinary Medicine at North Carolina State University (NCSU).

Dr. Harrington became a professor in the NCSU CVM Food Animal and Equine Medicine Department starting April 1, 1981 when the position was created. Dr. Oscar Fletcher, dean of NC State’s veterinary college from 1992-2004, noted that “Harrington’s reputation as an expert on large animal health and medicine helped lend credibility to the veterinary school when it started in the early 1980s.”  Dr. Harrington was the major force in creating the Teaching Animal Unit, and received the Norden Distinguished Teacher of the Year Award in 1983.  He was committed to teaching and mentoring of veterinary students, of disadvantaged youth and students of all types.


  • Member of NC Veterinary Medical Association and American Veterinary Medical Association (AVMA) for 45 years, serving on two AVMA councils.
  • Board of Directors and Medical Board of Examiners of NCVMA
  • President of NCVMA, 1981
  • Board of Agriculture
  • National Mastitis Council
  • He was a founding member of the American Association of Bovine Practitioners, became its President in 1973 and received its two highest awards, Bovine Practitioner of the Year and the Amstutz-Williams Award.

Awards and Achievements

  • Distinguished Alumnus/Alumna Award, University of Georgia, 1976
  • Veterinarian of the Year, NCVMA, 1977
  • Tar Heel of the Week, News and Observer, 1978
  • Practitioner of the Year, American Association of Bovine Practitioners, 1979
  • Norden Distinguished Teacher of the Year, 1983
  • Distinguished Veterinarian, NCVMA, 1989
  • Distinguished Practitioner Award, Academy of Practitioners, 1989
  • Ruth and Ned Huffman Leadership Award for outstanding services to NCSU CVM, 1990
  • N.C. Agriculture Hall of Fame, 1990
  • *Martin Litwack Award, outstanding contribution to NCSU College of Veterinary Medicine, 1996
  • *AABP Amstutz-Williams Award, 1996, American Association of Bovine Practitioners' Awards


The NCSU CVM’s Ben Harrington Food Animal Mentorship Award was created to honor those veterinarians and agricultural professionals who teach, encourage and mentor NCSU veterinary students to seek careers in food animal practice or in service to agriculture.  The award is presented annually to a veterinarian or other person actively engaged in animal agriculture who exemplifies the mentorship practiced by Dr. Harrington.


Acknowledgements:  Thank you to former VML intern, Laura J. Shelton, for compiling this information and to Dr. Malcolm Roberts for providing the information on the Ben Harrington Food Animal Mentorship Award.