Esteemed veterinary pharmacologist and educator, Dan Upson, DVM, MS, passed away this week in Manhattan, Kansas. Upson, a long-term faculty member at Kansas State University, received the AABP award of excellence in 1994, the 2009 AABP Mentor of the Year Award, and was the first beef recipient in 2011 of the Cattle Production Veterinarian Hall of Fame.
Following is an excerpt from a Bovine Veterinarian article about Dr. Upson’s induction into the Hall of Fame, written by then-editor Geni Wren:
Upson laid pharmacology groundwork
2011 CPVHoF beef inductee, Dan Upson, is best known for his commitment to helping ranchers produce safe, wholesome beef through residue avoidance and providing practitioners with knowledge and guidance for the prudent use of antimicrobials in beef cattle production medicine. He helped lay the groundwork for regulations in drug compounding, extralabel drug use in food animals, and for veterinary prescription drug distributors. His Handbook of Clinical Veterinary Pharmacology is in its fourth edition and is widely used throughout the field of veterinary medicine.
“Receiving this award is overwhelming,” Upson says. “Cattle production veterinary medicine has been my life’s work, and I am very grateful for this honor.”
A native of Hutchinson, Kan., Dr. Upson received his bachelor’s, Master’s and veterinary medical degrees from Kansas State University. He established a private practice in Pretty Prairie, Kan., for seven years and then had a 35-year tenure at K-State, teaching pharmacology and serving as a section leader in veterinary extension. He also enjoyed working as a Big 8 football official for college football games. He now is professor emeritus in pharmacology at K-State.
Upson is a past president of the Kansas Veterinary Medical Association and the Kansas State Alumni Association board of directors. He also served on the AVC board of directors for three terms. Upson and his wife, Stephanie, live in Manhattan, Kan., and have three children: Connie, Ron and Elizabeth.
Upson redefined clinical pharmacology
“For food animals, Dr. Upson is the one who put the ‘clinical’ in clinical pharmacology,” says former student and longtime friend Mike Apley, DVM, PhD, Dipl. ACVCP, Kansas State University. “He was the pioneer in taking the science of pharmacology and applying it to clinical applications by food animal practitioners. And in his work, he wanted nothing else but to help all of us get it right. “
Upson taught Apley in veterinary school, was his major professor for his PhD, and also taught Apley’s father in vet school. “Dan brought a heightened awareness of the consequences of our therapeutic and preventive choices in food animals by placing an emphasis on avoiding residues through correct withdrawal times,” Apley explains. “He was also a constant voice for adhering to the basic principles of prudent drug use. Dan was part of the pioneering group that brought us the Animal Medicinal Drug Use Clarification Act and also has worked in the area of education on compounding.”
Apley was one of about 20 students that went through the Kansas State College of Veterinary Medicine as the son or daughter of a parent whom Dr. Upson also taught in veterinary school. “If you sum up vet students in class, practicing veterinarians at meetings, undergraduates in his incredibly popular anatomy and physiology and food animal pharmacology courses, and producers at meetings, you come up with thousands of people over five decades that have gone forward to be pillars of the beef industry,” Apley notes.
Apley says this is a well-deserved honor for Upson. “Dan has forged hundreds of relationships within the veterinary profession and beef cattle industry. He has served as a resource and as a mentor in these relationships with the result being improved standards for drug use in food animals. Above and beyond facts and regimens, Dan’s imprint on the industry has been that we should always think about what we are doing with food-animal drugs, with consideration of both the animal and the consumer before we act. He is best presented as an emotion, an attitude, a passion for doing what is right as we produce the food that feeds this nation and this world.”
The memorial service for Dan Upson will be held on Monday, May 23, 2016 at 2pm.
First Presbyterian Church
801 Leavenworth Street
Manhattan, KS 66502
The family is in the process of making a decision as to the appropriate memorial in Dan's honor, and information will be sent as it becomes available.