The University of Tennessee Institute of Agriculture has named Dr. James P. Thompson as Dean of the UT College of Veterinary Medicine (CVM). Dr. Thompson's appointment is effective Oct. 1, 2008. He will be the fifth dean of the college, which is one of only 28 such colleges in the United States.

Dr. Thompson is currently executive associate dean and professor in the Department of Small Animal Clinical Sciences at the University of Florida CVM. He also holds a joint appointment in the Department of Molecular Genetics and Microbiology in the University of Florida College of Medicine.

Founded in 1974, the UT CVM supports the state’s veterinary professionals and livestock and companion animal owners as well as boasts programs and faculty that are recognized for expertise internationally in public health, the human-animal bond and avian and zoological medicine as well as dog and horse physical rehabilitation and veterinary social work.

Earlier this year the College dedicated a $10 million, 32,000-gross-square-foot expansion of its small animal hospital, including a state-of-the-art linear accelerator for radiation therapy. The college has also installed a magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) unit for diagnosis. In 2006, the College created the Center for Agriculture and Food Security and Preparedness, which has served as a focal point for several key initiatives that are working to protect the nation’s food supply.

In announcing the appointment to faculty and staff, UT Vice-President for Agriculture Joseph DiPietro praised Dr. Thompson’s background and experience as an exceptional fit regarding the responsibilities of the UT CVM dean. “Dr. Thompson brings a wealth and breadth of previous veterinary college-level administrative experience, as well as outstanding skills, knowledge, familiarity, understanding and know-how to the position,” DiPietro wrote in an e-mail to faculty and staff.

For his part Dr. Thompson looks forward to the challenges of his new position. “Great colleges are made of great people, and I believe the UT Veterinary College has great people. I am looking forward to working side-by-side with faculty, staff, and students who are passionate about veterinary medicine and agriculture. I am excited about accomplishing our objectives of delivering strong research, education, patient care and service to society. My personal goal is to work to ensure the people of Tennessee understand, appreciate, and support the College in its responsibilities to protect the health of animals, people, and the environment.”

A graduate of Purdue University, West Lafayette, Ind., (B.S. in biology in 1976), Dr. Thompson earned his D.V.M. at the University of Florida in 1981 and his Ph.D. in Immunology and Medical Microbiology from that institution’s College of Medicine in 1984. A frequent presenter at veterinary conferences, Dr. Thompson has also authored and co-authored numerous professional publications and refereed journal articles. He has been a member of several committees for the Association of American Veterinary Medical Colleges, and he chaired that group’s Academic Affairs Program Committee from 2005-2006.

Dr. Thompson is also a diplomate of several ACVIM and AVCM specialties including internal medicine, immunology, virology and oncology.

A native of Greenville, Penn., Dr. Thompson replaces Dr. Michael Blackwell, who retired as UT CVM dean in March 2008. Dr. Leon Potgieter will continue to serve as Interim Dean until Dr. Thompson's appointment begins.