Veterinary medicine professor ‘humbled’ by recent award

Dr. Thomson receiving the 2018 Distinguished Service Award sponsored by Zoetis. (Janelle Marney | Collegian Media Group) Photo credit: Janelle Marney

On a stifling, 108-degree day in Phoenix, Arizona, a crowd of more than 1,200 veterinarians rose to a standing ovation for the 2018 Distinguished Service Award winner.

Dr. Dan Thomson, professor of production medicine and epidemiology for Kansas State’s College of Veterinary Medicine, gathered his thoughts as he accepted the award at the 51st annual American Association of Bovine Practitioners conference, which was held Sept. 12-15.

“My thoughts were how humbling it is to be recognized when there are so many good people that probably deserve the award as much, or more, as me,” Thomson said. “Lastly, I thought how proud I was to represent all the beef producers and veterinarians across Kansas and the honor it is to work and represent Kansas State University. Me and my family owe Kansas State so much for providing me a platform and support to serve others.”

Thomson has been an active AABP member for 20 years, and throughout his lifetime in veterinary medicine, he has served on the association’s animal welfare committee, the distance education committee and more.

“In 2008, Dawn Anderson from Kansas State and I proposed to develop an online training platform for AABP so practitioners could have access to continuing education seminars any time,” Thomson said. “We developed the program, AABP invested in it and Kansas State University still hosts this tremendous practitioner tool today.”

Among other things, Thomson has devoted his entire life to the agriculture industry. Along with the AABP organization, he has served as a veterinarian and teacher throughout his entire career.

Dr. Thomson working with cattle. (Photo courtesy of Dan Thomson) Photo credit: Dan Thomson

Thomson, who said he was raised in a family-run clinic his grandfather started in the 1930s, is a third-generation bovine veterinarian. He has practiced all over the country and started his own practice in Texas, where he said he managed the care of upward of 1 million cattle a year.

In 2004, Thomson came to K-State to assume the role of the Jones Professor of Production Medicine and Epidemiology, and he would eventually be the founder of the Beef Cattle Institute at K-State.

Thomson said he doesn’t see his career as work, but an opportunity to help and spend time with people. Whether it’s a client who owns cattle, or if it’s a fellow veterinarian, he will always be ready to jump out of his truck and help out, he said.

“These awards are not about one person,” Thomson said. “There are so many students, staff, faculty and alumni [that] have allowed me to be successful. They deserve the credit and I am just the one that got to run the ball this time. This award is a recognition of Kansas State University’s leadership and service [and] I am humbled to be a part of the Kansas State University team.”