We can all point to a few people whose words and actions have exerted a powerful influence on our lives.
Along the way, they offer us timely endorsements, a sounding board for our concerns and sage advice on the path forward. They are quick to pardon and seldom use judgment as a motivational tool. Their good name, when spoken in the context of our own, gives us instant credibility. When these mentors depart, our hope is that their influence will generate enough momentum to carry us forward in their footsteps.
On January 13, 2023, we lost a great mentor, friend and coach with the passing of Dean Emeritus John Thomas Vaughan, DVM, MS, Diplomate, ACVS. Our college’s fifth dean could have taught core courses in humility, kindness, insight, professional integrity and academic leadership. Dean Vaughan, a proud Auburn veterinarian from the Class of 1955, served with great vision as dean from 1977 to 1995. Under his guidance, the college assembled a faculty and administrative team that elevated the college’s reputation on a global scale. Among Dr. Vaughan’s recruits was his eventual successor, Dr. Timothy Boosinger, who, in his own right, propelled the college with continued growth in programs, faculty and facilities. With the foundation laid by Deans Cary, McAdory, Sugg and Greene, together, they led the college on an ambitious path that has taken us to the successes we enjoy today. I was fortunate to have been an Auburn veterinary student during the prime of Dr. Vaughan’s service as dean and to have benefitted from his peer-counsel for the past 10 years while I served as dean.
Dr. Vaughan’s Celebration of Life service was held at the College of Veterinary Medicine on February 6, 2023, on what would have been his 91st birthday. Just minutes prior to the service, I welcomed into my office his wife of 66 years, Ethel, their son, Tommy, and daughter Faythe. They presented me a letter in Dr. Vaughan’s distinctive cursive script, written front and back on sheets from a yellow legal notepad. It was Dr. Vaughan’s letter of support for my nomination as a Wilford S. Bailey Distinguished Alumnus, penned the night before his death. There could be no greater honor for an Auburn veterinarian than to become a Bailey Distinguished Alumnus with the endorsement of Dean Emeritus John Thomas Vaughan.
Thank you, Dean Vaughan.
Respectfully and with gratitude,
Yr humbl & obdt svt
Dean Calvin Johnson '86