AVC names boardroom in honour of founding dean

Dean R.G. Thomson Boardroom
Friday, May 20, 2016
Dr. Greg Keefe and Dr. Basil Ikede unveil the plaques for the Dean R.G. Thomson Boardroom.

The Atlantic Veterinary College has honoured its founding dean, Dr. Reginald G. Thomson (1934-2002), by naming the dean’s office boardroom the Dean R.G. Thomson Boardroom.

During the spring meeting of the College’s advisory council on May 9, Dean Greg Keefe and Dr. Basil Ikede, retired professor of pathology, unveiled two plaques honouring Dr.Thomson. One plaque will hang on the boardroom door, and the other inside the room next to Dr. Thomson’s portrait. Dr. Ikede had a special relationship with Dr. Thomson, first as his graduate student and then as his faculty colleague at AVC.

“The story of Dr. Reginald G. Thomson is one of a man of exceptional intellect, motivation and drive, whose tenacity made him the most important individual involved with our establishment, but whose achievements were ultimately cut short by devastating illness,” said Dr. Keefe at the ceremony.

A native of Woodstock, Ontario, Dr. Thomson graduated from the Ontario Veterinary College in 1959, with his DVM degree and in 1963 with a Master of Veterinary Science degree in pathology. He became a diplomate of the American College of Veterinary Pathologists and obtained a PhD at Cornell in 1965. Subsequently, he received an appointment as an associate professor with OVC, and within two years, was promoted to full professor.

“Such a rise within academia was a testament to his scholarly pursuits and drive,” said Dr. Keefe.

In late 1978, Dr. Thomson took a leave of absence from OVC to explore the possibility of establishing a veterinary college in Atlantic Canada. He worked with regional universities, bureaucrats, provincial and federal politicians, veterinarians, farmers, fishers, and the general public to help develop the vision for the new College.

In 1983, it was announced that the Atlantic Veterinary College would be established at the University of Prince Edward Island with Dr. Thomson as its founding dean. Over the next few years, he led a team of architects, builders, and veterinary colleagues to develop a world-class veterinary medical facility at UPEI, recruiting highly skilled faculty and staff in the process.

Because of illness, Dr. Thomson retired in 1991 and returned to Woodstock, where he passed away in December 2002 at the age of 68. AVC was proud to posthumously award Dr. Thomson the 2010 Hon. Eugene F. Whelan Green Hat Award for his leadership and dedication in establishing the College. The Green Hat Award is the most prestigious award given by AVC.

“Today the Atlantic Veterinary College is a justifiably proud institution, universally recognized for the quality of its graduates, the discoveries of its researchers, and the care and support of regional animal populations and veterinary practitioners,” said Dr. Keefe, quoting from the citation written for Dr. Thomson’s Green Hat Award. “This relatively small College has made a difference in veterinary medicine that belies its stature, but that faithfully reflects the culture of hard work and determination established at the very outset by Dr. Thomson.

Noting that the College’s 27th DVM class graduated on Saturday, May 7, Dr. Keefe went on to say: “It is fitting that we celebrate the legacy that Dr. Thomson began by naming our premier meeting space the Dean R.G. Thomson Boardroom.”

Anna MacDonald
AVC External Relations Officer
Atlantic Veterinary College
(902) 566-6786
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