Iowa State University

Published on January 15, 2014
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​Four alumni of the Iowa State University College of Veterinary Medicine were honored at homecoming in November 2013.  

Dr. James Carpenter​ Dr. John U. Thomson​ Dr. Samuel Vainisi​ Dr. Paul Armbrecht

Dr. James Carpenter (ISU ’60) of Deerfield, Mass., received the Stange Award for Meritorious Service.  

Dr. Carpenter has held positions at Harvard University, Tufts University, and the University of Pennsylvania. Most of his career was spent at Angell Memorial Animal Hospital in Boston, where he was an intern, staff veterinarian, director of clinics, and head of the pathology department. 

Dr. Carpenter was instrumental in the initial recognition and reporting of conditions and diseases such as canine parvovirus, feline hyperthyroidism, lead poisoning, and xanthomatous keratitis in Cuban tree frogs. His book section on tumors of the cat in “Diseases of the Cat” is still widely used as a reference by veterinary oncologists and pathologists.
ISU CVM professor and dean emeritus Dr. John U. Thomson (ISU ’67) of Ames, Iowa, was also given the Stange Award for Meritorious Service.
At ISU, Dr. Thomson created curricular programs, grew the college budget, increased the faculty and their areas of expertise, and oversaw the renovation and construction of the veterinary medical center.
He was a mixed animal practitioner in Clearfield, Iowa, before entering academics. At South Dakota State University, 
Dr. Thomson spearheaded efforts to improve the veterinary department’s diagnostic laboratory. As dean at Mississippi State University College of Veterinary Medicine, he restructured the academic units and curriculum and acquired funds to construct a new diagnostic laboratory, a Center for Environmental Health Sciences, a small animal medicine and critical care unit, and an equine reproduction and research unit.
Dr. Samuel J. Vainisi (ISU ’57) of Denmark, Wis., also accepted the Stange Award for Meritorious Service. Dr. Vainisi is a member of the faculty at the University of Illinois at Chicago, where he is the only veterinarian to have reached the rank of full professor at the medical school. He currently consults at the university’s toxicology research laboratory. He continues to practice part time near Green Bay, Wis., at his ophthalmology referral center with his wife, Dr. Gretchen M. Schmidt (PUR ‘69), who is also a veterinary ophthalmologist.
Dr. Vainisi established the ophthalmology program at the Animal Medical Center in New York, later starting referral clinics in Green Bay and Chicago.
Dr. Vainisi is a founder of the American College of Veterinary Ophthalmologists and has served as secretary and president. He was the first veterinarian admitted into the American Society of Retinal Surgeons.
Dr. Paul Armbrecht (ISU ’71) of Rockwell City, Iowa, was given the William P. Switzer Award in Veterinary Medicine. He is known for his practical and innovative recommendations for the health and welfare of his patients and his commitment to the well-being of pork producers, regardless of operation size.
As chairman of the Iowa Pseudo­rabies Advisory Committee, Dr. Armbrecht was instrumental in advancing eradication efforts in the largest swine-producing state in the U.S. He also participated on the American Association of Swine Veterinarians’ Foreign Animal Disease Committee. Plus, he has earned the designation of “foreign animal disease diagnostician” from the Department of Agriculture.  

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