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K-State 150: K-State veterinary alumni part of AVMA's sesquicentennial

K-State 150 - Sesquicentennial LogoKansas State University celebrated its 150th birthday, or sesquicentennial, in 2013. As part of the celebration, Lifelines shared a series of monthly features devoted to different aspect of the history of the College of Veterinary Medicine. Below is this month's feature. Tolearn more about  the past, present and future for America’s first land grant institution and Kansas’ first public university, visit http://www.k-state.edu/150/.

From the April 2013 issue of Lifelines (Vol. 8, No. 4)


K-State veterinary alumni part of AVMA's sesquicentennial

Kansas State University's DVM graduates have a reputation of being excellent, dedicated practitioners and of being community and institutional leaders. Notable among these leadership achievements is the number of K-Staters who have been elected as presidents of the American Veterinary Medical Association (AVMA). Incidentally, the AVMA is also celebrating is sesquicentennial this year. In 1863, leaders from the American Veterinary Association, founded nine years earlier, voted to meet June 9-10 in New York City to improve the standing of the nation’s veterinary profession. Nearly 40 veterinarians, veterinary practitioners and physicians attended the meeting and agreed to form the United States Veterinary Medical Association, now the AVMA. 

K-State can boast of nine alumni who became president of the AVMA. Here is a list with a short bio about each.

Dr. Charles BowerDr. Charles W. Bower, DVM 1918, was the AVMA president from 1943-1944. He was born in Perry, Kan., and entered a general practice in Hope, Kan., but was called to active duty in the U.S. Army Veterinary Corps during World War I. Afterward, he established the first hospital exclusively for small animals in Kansas, while practicing in Topeka. During his tenure as AVMA president, he was influential in establishing the present council on Education and expanding the public relations program and the film library. He received the AVMA Award for Distinguished Service in 1955.
Dr. Wayne O. KesterGen. Wayne O. Kester, DVM 1931, was the AVMA president from 1956-1957. He was born near Stockville, Neb. He is the only AVMA president to ever hold the office 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. 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.
Dr. Elden E. (E.E.) LeasureDr. Elden E. (E.E.) Leasure, DVM 1923, was the AVMA president from 1960-1961. Dr. Leasure was born in Solomon, Kan., and returned home for three years a private practitioners, but most of his career was spent as an instructor and administrator at K-State. He was the head dean of veterinary medicine from 1948-1964. During his term as AVMA president, his wife, Freda, was president of the Auxiliary to the AVMA. Veterinary Hall at K-State was later renamed Leasure Hall in his honor.
Dr. Don H. SpanglerDr. Don H. Spangler, DVM, 1931, was the AVMA president from 1965-1966. He was born in Stanton County, Neb. After three years in general practice in Campbell, Neb., he joined Norden Laboratories and helped establish and manage the firm's Minnesota branch office. He started a practice in Atwater, Minn., in 1940, which he operated for 25 years. Dr. Spangler served 21 years on the AVMA Executive Board and chaired the board from 1962 to 1964. He served as the AVMA treasurer from 1963 to 1981, during which time the AVMA's investments grew from $273,000 to almost $5 million. In 1976, he was the first veterinarian in the AVMA to be honored for outstanding service.
Dr. Joseph F. KnappenbergerDr. Joseph F. Knappenberger, DVM 1935, was the AVMA president from 1968-1969. He was born in Penalosa, Kan. He taught bacteriology at K-State from 1936 to 1937, and then went in to private practice in Hutchinson, Kan., for the next 11 years. In 1948, he moved to Olathe and served as vice president and production manager of Ashe-Lockhart (which later became Haver-Lockhart Laboratories). He was one of 18 veterinarians invited by President Lyndon Johnson to participate in the White House Conference on Health in 1965.
Dr. Jacob E. MosierDr. Jacob E. Mosier, DVM 1945, was the AVMA president from 1981-1982. He was born on a farm near Hoxie, Kan. Dr. Mosier was the first of nine veterinarians in the Mosier family who obtained their Doctor of Veterinary Medicine degrees from K-State. After receiving his DVM in 1945, he became an instructor at the CVM where he remained for most of his career as a professor of surgery and medicine and director of the Teaching Hospital. He served as the Surgery and Medicine department head until 1981, and in 1999 was honored when the Veterinary Clinical Sciences building was dedicated in his name. He was on the executive board at the AVMA from 1970 to 1976 and served as chairman in 1974-1975.
Dr. Samuel E. StrahmDr. Samuel E. Strahm, DVM 1959, was the AVMA president form 1989-1990. He was born in Fairview, Kan. He was in private practice in Pawhuska, Okla., since 1959 until he passed away in 2009. In addition to serving as president of the AVMA, he served as the Oklahoma representative tot he House of Delegates from 1967 to 1988, chairman of the House Advisory Committee, chairman of the Continuing Education Advisory Committee, chairman and charter member of the AVMA Governmental Affairs Council, and chairman of the American Veterinary Medical Foundation in 1980-1981. He was also a member of the Oklahoma Board of Veterinary Medical Examiners for 23 years.
Dr. Gregory S. HammerDr. Gregory S. Hammer, DVM 1973, was the AVMA president from 2007-2008. He was born in Bonner Springs, Kan. Dr. Hammer is now a small animal and equine practitioner in Dover, Del. He is owner and partner of Brenford Animal Hospital. With the rank of captain in the U.S. Air Force, Dr. Hammer was a veterinary medical officer from January 1974 to January 1976 and received the Meritorious Service Medal. He was named 1997 Delaware Veterinarian of the Year. Prior to election as president of the AVMA, Dr. Hammer served six years on the AVMA executive board and 13 years in the House of Delegates.
Dr. Ralph R. DykstraOne other notable "K-Stater" who served as the president of the AVMA, was Dr. Ralph R. Dykstra, who served as the first dean of the Division of Veterinary Medicine. He was born in Groningen, Netherlands, and earned a three-year veterinary degree at Iowa State College in 1905. After teaching on the Iowa State faculty, he came to K-State in 1911 and served as dean from 1919 to 1948. He was thought to be the first Kansan to serve as president of the AVMA, serving from 1931-1932.

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