Legendary veterinarian Harold Amstutz passes away

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The American Association of Bovine Practitioners (AABP) announced that one of its legendary members and the founder of the AABP Amstutz Scholarship, Harold E. Amstutz, DVM, 93, passed away yesterday evening, June 11. Amstutz was recovering from a recent hip injury and experienced surgical complications.

Dr. Amstutz attained legendary status in the veterinary community for his tireless commitment to bovine medicine and the support of veterinary students interested in bovine medicine. In 2011, Dr. Amstutz and Dr. Dan Upson became the first two veterinarians inducted into the Cattle Production Veterinarian Hall of Fame at AABP’s annual conference in St. Louis. Dr. Amstutz was there to accept his award in person.

A native of Barrs Mill, Ohio, Dr. Amstutz received his DVM from Ohio State University in 1945. He practiced briefly in Ohio before becoming an instructor in veterinary medicine at his alma mater. He attained professorship at OSU in 1957. In 1961, he was selected to be the Department Head for Large Animal Clinical Medicine at the newly formed veterinary school at Purdue University. He spent the remainder of his professional career at Purdue retiring in 1989.

Dr. Amstutz was widely recognized as an authority on bovine diseases with special interest in bovine lameness and respiratory diseases. He was a respected consultant and lecturer presenting his work at numerous national and international conferences. He received numerous awards, including the Norden Award for outstanding teaching in dairy cattle diseases and the National Gamma Award from Omega Tau Sigma veterinary medical fraternity. In 1986, AABP established the Amstutz-Williams Award in honor of Drs. Amstutz and Eric J. Williams to recognize the long and distinguished service to AABP of two honorees. The Amstutz-Williams Award is AABP’s highest honor and Dr. Amstutz and Williams were the first recipients of this award.

Dr. Amstutz was a charter diplomate of the American College of Veterinary Internal Medicine. He served as first vice president and organizer for the 6th International Congress for the World Association of Buiatrics (WAB) and its joint meeting with AABP in Philadelphia in 1970. He went on to serve as president, and honorary president for WAB. At the 1992 joint meeting of AABP and WAB in St. Paul, Minn., Dr. Amstutz was awarded the prestigious Gustav Rosenberger Memorial Award for his contributions to veterinary science as a clinician and administrator.

Dr. Amstutz was a member of the Indiana Veterinary Medical Association and the American Veterinary Medical Association (AVMA).

In 1972, Dr. Amstutz served as chairman of the organizing committee of the American College of Veterinary Internal Medicine (ACVIM) when the organization succeeded in gaining recognition as a specialty board by the AVMA. He wrote the first draft of the constitution and by-laws of the ACVIM and was the first president of the college.

In 1966, Dr. Amstutz was elected the secretary-treasurer of the newly formed, 250-member American Association of Bovine Practitioners. He continued in that role until 1989 when he was elected the first executive vice president of the AABP. Under his stewardship, membership grew to 5,000 graduate veterinarians. During his tenure, the organization first accepted student members.

As the executive leader for the organization, Dr. Amstutz assumed major responsibilities for directing the day-to-day operation of AABP including the logistical planning and execution of annual meetings. His involvement in the meetings ranged from site inspection for future meetings to taking care of the myriad of details that arose during the meeting. All the while he continued to serve as a professor in the Department of Large Animal Medicine and Surgery at Purdue University.

For over 20 years, Dr. Amstutz edited and published a very well respected monthly newsletter for the membership. He was an alternate delegate to the AVMA House of Delegates for the AABP from 1969 to 1994. He was a member of the editorial board of AABP’s official publication, the Bovine Practitioner.

Dr. Amstutz served on the Board of Editors for the Merck Veterinary Manual for years. He was editor of Bovine Medicine and Surgery and has written chapters for numerous veterinary texts. He served unselfishly on many important committees at Purdue, including Admissions and Curriculum. He donated funds in 1988 to Purdue’s School of Veterinary Medicine to establish the Amstutz Bovine Proficiency Award for students interested in bovine practice. Dr. Amstutz was awarded the Alumni Faculty Award at Purdue University for Excellence and retired with the title of Professor Emeritus in 1989.

The ongoing AABP Amstutz Scholarship has honored Dr. Amstutz’s lasting legacy in supporting future generations of bovine veterinarians. It is named to honor his unique leadership role in the maturation and development of national and international organizations in the area of bovine veterinary practice. The purpose of the scholarship is to attract well-trained veterinarians to enter food animal practice, in general, and bovine practice, specifically. Dr. Amstutz served as an exemplary role model of scientist, teacher and executive over his many years of service to the profession and AABP, and he will be greatly missed by those who had the privilege of knowing and working with him.

The Amstutz family has asked that memorial contributions be sent to the Amstutz Scholarship Fund, American Association of Bovine Practitioners, P.O. Box 3610, Auburn, AL, 36831-3610.



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