N.B.: The detail displayed about each honorary degree recipient varies, as
the database was compiled from a variety of sources. However, more information may
be available at the University Archives.
Convocation date: October 26, 1996
Discipline / contribution: veterinary medicine ; university administration
Citation / biographical information:
Dr. Ole Nielsen, a native of Edmonton, Alberta, has earned a worldwide reputation through his contributions to veterinary education, animal health, environmental protection, and academic administration. He has served his profession as a rural veterinary practitioner, research scientist, teacher, builder and dean of two Canadian veterinary colleges.Degree received: Doctor of Laws
Ole Nielsen will best be remembered at the University of Saskatchewan for his guidance and support during the formative years of the Western College of Veterinary Medicine, where he was Head of the Department of Veterinary Pathology and subsequently Dean. He was among the earliest appointees to the Faculty and was given responsibility for the design of the new building. He was also involved in the development of the undergraduate and graduate programs.
While in Saskatoon he was instrumental in the establishment of the Prairie Swine Centre, the Veterinary Infectious Disease Organization, and the Toxicology Research Centre, three organizations which have proven to be of inestimable value in the promotion of animal health. He also worked for the formation of the Meewasin Valley Authority.
Following eight years as Dean of the Western College of Veterinary Medicine, he was appointed, in 1985, Dean of the Ontario Veterinary College, stepping down in April, 1994. His tenure there was characterized by further achievements, notably the completion of several major building expansions.
His enthusiasm for pursuing innovative approaches for environmental health is legendary. He served as Chair of the Board of Trustees of the International Laboratory for Research on Animal Diseases with headquarters in Nairobi, Kenya. He was a driving force for organizing a highly acclaimed First International Symposium on Ecosystem Health and Medicine held in Ottawa in 1994 and for the Ecological Summit 96 held in Copenhagen this past August. He served as Chair of the Saskatchewan Environmental Advisory Council from 1978-1982 and as President of the Saskatchewan Natural History Society in 1975-76. His professional concern for the environment was stimulated by work on mercury pollution, most notably as a member of the team which, in 1969, was the first to document the mercury pollution problem in the South Saskatchewan River.
He was Chair of the Board of Trustees of the International Laboratory for Research on Animal Disease (ILRID), Nairobi, from 1990-94, a Centre which worked on African trypanosomiasis and tick borne diseases. He helped incorporate ILRAD into a new globally oriented institute called the International Livestock Research Institute, with headquarters in Nairobi and is currently a member of its Board of Trustees.
His honours and awards include the prestigious Schofield Medal from the University of Ouelph. He was invited to deliver the Kemkamp Lecture at the University of Minnesota, John Gunion Rutherford Lecture at the University of Saskatchewan, and the inaugural Reginald Thomson Lecture at the University of Prince Edward Island. He served as President of the Canadian Veterinary Medical Association in 1968-69 and is now a Life Member. He is an Honorary member of the Saskatchewan, Manitoba, and Ontario Veterinary Medical Associations.
Dr. Nielsen retired in 1995 and continues as a Professor Emeritus in the Department of Pathobiology at the University of Guelph but is planning to return to Western Canada.
Degree presented by: Alex Livingston, Dean of Veterinary Medicine
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