Washington, D.C. – The Association of American Veterinary Medical Colleges (AAVMC)
announced today that it awarded the AAVMC Senator John Melcher, DVM Leadership in Public
Policy Award to John U. Thomson, DVM, MS. The award is being presented March 11, 2011,
at AAVMC's Annual Conference in Washington, D.C.
"Dr. Thomson's vision has always been that the veterinary profession speaks with a single
voice," says AAVMC Executive Director Marguerite Pappaioanou, DVM, MPVM, Ph.D. "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."
A native of Iowa, Thomson received his DVM from Iowa State University (ISU) in 1967. After
20 years as a private rural veterinarian in a mixed-animal practice, Thomson became an
extension veterinarian at South Dakota State University (SDSU) in 1987. He joined the faculty
at SDSU as a full-time professor, and later led the Department of Veterinary Science and the
South Dakota Animal Disease Research and Diagnostic Laboratory. Thomson served for two
years on the veterinary faculty at ISU before being named dean of the College of Veterinary
Medicine at Mississippi State University in 1999. In 2004, he returned to his alma mater after
being appointed dean of the ISU College of Veterinary Medicine. Thomson retired from this
position at the end of 2010, and remains on the faculty as a professor in the Department of
Veterinary Diagnostic and Production Animal Medicine.
Thomson helped win passage of a dedicated tax in South Dakota which supports the veterinary
education of six South Dakota veterinary students at ISU as well as the operations of South
Dakota's state veterinary diagnostic laboratory. He helped win millions of dollars in funds to
enhance the veterinary diagnostic laboratories in South Dakota and Mississippi, and secured
more than $120 million in construction funds at ISU. He also helped develop the cooperative
agreement in veterinary medical education between ISU and the University of Nebraska-Lincoln,
which expanded veterinary medical educational opportunities for Nebraskan students. Most
importantly, Thomson helped draft and win passage for the National Veterinary Medical
Services Act (the Veterinary Medicine Loan Repayment Program) in 2003.
"Dr. Thomson is widely recognized by other leaders in our profession for his leadership in public
policy," said Kent H. Hoblet, DVM, MS, Dean at the Mississippi State University College of
Veterinary Medicine, one of the many individuals who nominated Thomson for the award.
"When I consider his many leadership accomplishments in the public arena, it is amazing to me
that all of this occurred in about one-half of a career."
AAVMC established the Melcher Leadership Award in Public Policy in 2007 to honor Senator
John Melcher, DVM, who was also the first person to receive the award.
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The Association of American Veterinary Medical Colleges (AAVMC) 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. Its members include all 33 veterinary medical colleges in the United States and
Canada, nine departments of veterinary science, eight departments of comparative medicine, two veterinary medical
education institutions, nine international colleges of veterinary medicine, and five affiliate international colleges of
veterinary medicine. On the Web: http://www.aavmc.org