Bradley "Brad" Willard Fenwick was born on March 17, 1955, in Hutchinson, Kansas. He died on July 22, 2021, at the Good Shepherd Hospice House in Manhattan, Kansas, from complications from colon cancer diagnosed in December 2014.
Having received a doctor of veterinary medicine degree and master’s degrees from Kansas State University, Dr. Fenwick completed a residency and received a Ph.D. from the University of California, Davis in 1985 focused on microbiology and immunology. Following a faculty position at the University of Florida, he was recruited by Kansas State University in 1987.
During his tenure at Kansas State, he built a world-class research program in infectious diseases.
While at Kansas State he held numerous academic leadership and administrative positions at the department level, chaired an interdisciplinary graduate program, and served as associate dean of graduate education and president of the Faculty Senate.
In 2001 Brad was selected as the only veterinarian to be appointed as the Chief Scientist for the Competitive Research Programs and the National Research Initiative (NRI) of the U.S. Department of Agriculture. His time as Chief Science Advisor was during 9-11 — a time when the foundation for replacing the Plum Island Animal Disease Research Center were laid ensuring the construction, opening, and operation of the National Bio and Agro-Defense Facility (NBAF) in Manhattan.
He left Kansas State in 2003 to become the Vice President for Research at Virginia Tech and President of Virginia Tech Intellectual Properties. At the time, he was part of the administrative team that had to address the issues related to the shooting that resulted in the deaths of 32 individuals. He then became Vice Chancellor for Research and Engagement at the University of Tennessee – Knoxville in 2007.
In 2011 he became a Jefferson Science Fellow, Senior Science and Technology Advisor with the U.S. Department of State – Office of Economic Policy, East Asian and Pacific Affairs. He led the development of the terms of reference and chaired APEC’s Policy Partnership on Food Security as well as the Policy Partnership of Science, Technology & Innovation.
In 2012 he was recruited by Elsevier, Inc. (Amsterdam, The Netherlands), the world’s largest publisher of over 2,000 science and technology journals and dozens of databases to be their Senior Vice President for Global Strategic Alliances, a position created specifically to capitalize on his talents. His work to foster non-commercial strategic alliances between research universities and centers, foundations and government research agencies, and related associations and stakeholders allowed partners to be successful well beyond their singular efforts.
Deciding he had accomplished what he intended, he left Elsevier in 2020 to join Taylor & Francis as their Senior Vice President for Open Science and Innovation. Taylor & Francis is an international company originating in England that publishes books and academic journals.
Over the course of his academic and professional career, Brad secured over $30 million in competitive research funding from numerous governmental and private sources; published over 150 refereed and industry/professional publications and reports (H factor – 42); supervised 35 graduate students and post-doctoral students; presented over 200 invited and keynote presentations throughout the world; held five United States patents; and with his spouse was the owner of a veterinary technology start-up company.
He received numerous awards and honors including the Beecham Award for Research Excellence, the Yarborough Medicine Award, Sigma Xi Outstanding Scientist and Service Awards, the Kansas Veterinary Service Award, and the U.C. Davis Distinguished Alumni Award.
He was one of a very select group who held fellow status with both the American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS) and the American Council on Education (ACE), and was a Distinguished Fellow with the National Academies of Practice. He served on and chaired numerous professional and national organizations and committees including those with the National Academies of Science, the National Research Council, and the Association of Public Land-Grant Universities. He worked with research and policy groups such as Research America, Council on Governmental Relations, Association of Academic Health Centers, University Industry Development Partnership, Association of Pacific Rim Universities, and many more.
Brad was a scientist, first and foremost. He believed in the importance of science and research.
He believed that science is what moves our country forward in positive ways. As a result, it was easy for him to assume the position of chair of Science Counts, a non-profit 501(c)(3) organization that works to enhance public awareness of and support for scientific research, in 2020. He truly believed there is an urgent need to strengthen our nation’s commitment to science by increasing the resources that fuel scientific activity in order to fully realize science’s immense potential to do good. He also thought that if he lived long enough the science would catch up his cancer diagnosis and he would be cured knowing the odds were against him.
He is survived by his high school sweetheart and spouse of 44 years, Debbie Nuss, of Manhattan, Kansas; his son, Benjamin Fenwick (Jillian Oberfield) of Arlington, Virginia; and daughter, Emily Fenwick (Tom Ashby) of Golden, Colorado. He is also survived by his adoring granddaughter, Sadie Fenwick of Arlington, Virginia. He is preceded in death by his father, Willard Fenwick and stepfather, Phil Bloom; survived by his mother, Martha Bloom of Manhattan, Kansas and his brother John Fenwick (Sheena Boyd) of San Francisco, California.
His commitment to providing for his family knew no bounds. He wanted only the best for his children, Ben and Emily, and did all that he could to ensure their futures were secure. It was reassuring to him that they are both so well-established and well-respected in their respective careers — a testament to the advice and guidance he provided to them. He also was comforted by the fact that they had found people to spend the rest of their lives with who made them happy and whole.
As a family, we are extremely grateful for the time we had with him the past six and a half years — time we were told we would not have because the odds were stacked against him. During that time, he got to see granddaughter Sadie born and to walk Emily down the aisle on her wedding day. Our last time together as an entire family was December 2019 (just prior to the start of the pandemic) when we spent the holidays in Colorado — a time we all cherish.
Brad’s family urges you to have a screening colonoscopy at age 50 or earlier if there is a family history or you exhibit symptoms. Colon cancer is highly treatable if caught early.
Private services will be arranged by the family.
In lieu of flowers, the Brad Fenwick Endowment for Civic Science has been established with Science Counts. Contributions/pledges may be made on the Science Counts website (www.ScienceCounts.org) or may also be sent in care of the Yorgensen-Meloan-Londeen Funeral Home, 1616 Poyntz Ave., Manhattan, Kansas 66502.
Online condolences may be left for the family through the funeral home website at www.ymlfuneralhome.com.