Iowa State vet med dean to step down

Brandon Hallmark

John Thomson will no longer be dean of the College of Veterinary Medicine after Jan. 1.

Thomson, a clinical epidemiologist, will step down from his position, but will remain on the faculty to focus on best production animal practices and outcomes-based medicine.

He received his D.M.V. from Iowa State in 1967 and worked in mixed animal private practice for 20 years. Thomson also served in administrative positions at South Dakota State University, and was later dean of Veterinary Medicine at Mississippi State University.

Thomson returned to Iowa State In 2004 to apply for the deanship and stepped into the position in August. Under previous dean Norman Cheville, the college failed to receive accreditation from the American Veterinary Medical Association Council on Education.

The college suffered as a result of the denial of accreditation.

“The facilities had really deteriorated just because of aging and lack of renovation,” said James Bloedel, chairman of biomedical sciences. “In the areas pertinent to clinical care — mainly the hospital — those facilities had deteriorated to an unacceptable level.”

Thomson managed to reverse the situation, and now the college maintains full accreditation. He has also created a cooperative veterinary education program between Iowa State and the University of Nebraska-Lincoln.

In addition, Thomson was instrumental in facilitating funds for the W. Eugene and Linda Lloyd Medical Center, an animal clinic. He has also facilitated funding for the new small animal clinic which will be completed in 2012.

“I think he’s done an outstanding job,” Bloedel said. “I think serving in that level of leadership position, there is a certain set of goals that anyone in that position would generate. Given his strong interests in many of the critical areas of the college, and the fact that we needed significant change in order to regain full accreditation, it was some of what he engaged in he really had to be focused in getting us off accreditation probation.” 

In addition to his accomplishments at Iowa State, Thomson has also been named Veterinarian of the Year in South Dakota, Mississippi and Iowa.