Wayne O. Kester
1997 Distinguished Alumnus Award
General Wayne O. Kester (DVM 1931), renowned for his highly honored military service, contributions in veterinary medicine and national recognition as a horseman was the Kansas State University College of Veterinary Medicine 1997 Distinguished Alumnus. Dr. Kester, a native of Cambridge, Nebraska, graduated with his doctor of veterinary medicine from Kansas State University in 1931. In 1933, he joined the U.S. Army Veterinary Corps as a Second Lieutenant. Twenty-four years later he retired from the U.S. Air Force, a Brigadier General.
Dr. Kester has been the recipient of many awards including the Legion of Merit for service in the Pacific during WWII, and the Legion of Merit Oak Leaf Cluster for building the Air Force Veterinary services. In 1962, he was awarded the Kansas Veterinary Medical Association (KVMA) Centennial Award; Outstanding Service Award; Colorado Veterinary Medical Association (CVMA) in 1971, and the American Veterinary Medical Association (AVMA) Service Award in 1980.
In 1956, Dr. Kester was elected and served as president of the AVMA, the only one to ever do so while still on active duty in the military service. He used this position to broaden the scope of veterinary medicine and to begin the formation of specialty groups. He was president of the Conference of Public Health Veterinarians from 1954-55, and is a Diplomat in the American College of Laboratory Animal Medicine as well as the American College of Veterinary Preventive Medicine all of which he was a founder. He generated the formation of many other veterinary specialty groups for which he was honored as the recipient of the 1980 AVMA Distinguished Service Award.
He was a member of the American Association of Equine Practitioners (AAEP), which he helped form in 1954, and was elected president in 1958-59. He then served as Executive Director for 25 years and saw it expand from a 200 to a 5,000 member international organization.
Following retirement from the Air Force, Dr. Kester served seven years as Director of Research for the Morris Animal Foundation, and then continued as an equine consultant. He also served as a research and professional consultant for the Arabian Horse Registry, the Arabian Trust, the American Quarter Horse Association, the International Arabian Horse Association, the American Humane Association and others.
Dr. Kester was instrumental in forming the American Horse Council in 1969, and continued to serve on its executive committee for 20 years. Nationally known among horsemen, he has been actively recognized as an American Horse Show and American Quarter Horse judge. He was a founder of the North American Trail Ride Conference and is an active member in numerous other horse organizations.
He has been the recipient of distinguished service awards from more than 20 veterinary and equine related organizations with which he has been associated.