ISU Professor and Dean Emeritus Receives Melcher Leadership Award

Dr. John U. Thomson, College of Veterinary Medicine, (515) 294-1763
Ms. Tracy Ann Raef, College of Veterinary Medicine (515) 294-4602

March 11, 2011

The Association of American Veterinary Medical Colleges selected Dr. John U. Thomson as the recipient of the 2011 AAVMC Senator John Melcher, DVM, Leadership in Public Policy Award. Dr. Thomson received the award March 11, during the AAVMC’s annual conference in Washington, DC. The award was established in 2007 to honor former Senator John Melcher, DVM, ISU ’50, who was the first veterinarian to be elected to the US Senate and also the first person to receive the award.

“Dr. Thomson’s vision has always been that the veterinary profession speaks with a single voice,” says AAVMC Executive Director Dr. Marguerite Pappaioanou. “For more than four decades, he has worked tirelessly to bring industry, practitioners, and veterinary educators together in a powerful, unified coalition to press for legislation vital to the health of the veterinary profession. He played a critical role in securing the passage of the National Veterinary Services Act, which today is helping veterinarians pay down debt in return for providing veterinary services in areas suffering from a shortage of caregivers.”

Dr. Thomson is a professor and dean emeritus at Iowa State University College of Veterinary.

A native of Iowa, Dr. Thomson received his veterinary degree at Iowa State University in 1967. Dr. Thomson spent the first twenty years of his career working as a private veterinarian in Clearfield, Iowa, alongside his father, Dr. Vale U. Thomson.

In 1987, he became an extension veterinarian at South Dakota State University. A few years later, he became a professor and head of the SDSU veterinary science department and director of the South Dakota Animal Disease Research and Diagnostic Laboratory. He left SDSU in 1997 to join the faculty at Iowa State University’s College of Veterinary Medicine. In 1999, he became dean of the College of Veterinary Medicine at Mississippi State University, serving in that position for five years. In 2004, he returned to Iowa as dean of the College of Veterinary Medicine at Iowa State University. In 2011 he stepped down as dean but continues to serve on ISU faculty, focusing on outcomes-based medicine in food animal production.

Dr. Thomson has promoted veterinary legislative policy throughout his career. Most recently, Dr. Thomson helped draft and win passage for the National Veterinary Medical Services Act (the Veterinary Medicine Repayment Program) in 2003. He also helped develop the cooperative agreements in veterinary medical education between Iowa State University, South Dakota, North Dakota, Connecticut and the University of Nebraska-Lincoln, which significantly expanded veterinary medical educational opportunities for students from these states. During his career, he helped secure millions of dollars in funding to enhance veterinary education, research and the veterinary diagnostic laboratories in South Dakota, Mississippi and Iowa.

“Dr. Thomson is widely recognized by other leaders in our profession for his leadership in public policy,” said Kent H. Hoblet, DVM, and dean of the College of Veterinary Medicine at Mississippi State University, one of several individuals who nominated Dr. Thomson for the award.

The Association of American Veterinary Medical Colleges is a non-profit membership organization working to protect and improve the health and welfare of animals, people and the environment by advancing academic veterinary medicine.