John Thomas Vaughan

February 6, 1932 ~ January 13, 2023 (age 90) 90 Years Old


John Thomas Vaughan, Dean Emeritus of Veterinary Medicine at Auburn University departed this life early in the morning of January 13th, 2023. He died unexpectedly in his sleep. It was a fortunate coincidence that several children and grandchildren were visiting. He was 90 years old.

He was born February 6th, 1932 to Mary Howard and Henry Asa Vaughan, Sr. in Tuskegee, Alabama. He came from agricultural roots. He said, “My father and my oldest brother said they thought I should be a veterinarian, and that suited me to a T.”

After earning his Veterinary degree from Auburn in 1955, Dr. Vaughan practiced briefly in Tuskegee. When he brought a cow to Auburn for surgery, the dean recruited him back as an instructor in the large animal clinic. The next dean sent him to the University of Pennsylvania to study equine surgery, then assigned him to teach large animal surgery at Auburn. Cornell University recruited Dr. Vaughan to be a professor of surgery and director of the large animal hospital in 1970. He returned to Auburn in 1974, accepting an offer to be department head in large animal medicine. He served as Dean of the College of Veterinary Medicine from 1977 to 1995.

Professional memberships include the American Veterinary Medical Association, Alabama Veterinary Medical Association, President of the American Association of Equine Practitioners, and President of the American College of Veterinary Surgeons.

There are far too many honors and awards to mention but naming the John Thomas Vaughan Large Animal Teaching Hospital for him was at the top of the list.

After retirement, he served as Chair of the Professional Liability Insurance Trust that provides insurance for veterinarians.

He was working on a history of veterinary medicine at Auburn. He was a regular contributor of articles for the Auburn Veterinarian.

He was a member of the Auburn United Methodist Church, serving in numerous capacities. He was a member of the Auburn Rotary Club.

Tom was preceded in death by his parents, Mary Howard Vaughan and Henry Asa Vaughan, Sr., three brothers, Henry Asa Vaughan, Jr. (Jean), Robert Howard Vaughan (Mary), and Roland Crawford Vaughan. He is survived by his wife of 66 years, Ethel Sell Vaughan, three children, John Thomas Vaughan, Jr. (Renata), Faythe Vaughan, and Michael Sell Vaughan, seven grandchildren, John Thomas Vaughan (Laura), Dylan Vaughan, Charlie Vaughan, F. Vaughan Immerwahr, Evelyn Vaughan, Isabella Vaughan, and Tallulah Vaughan, and one great-grandchild, Audrey Vaughan.

There will be a graveside service on Friday, January 20th, 2023 at 2:00 P.M. at the Tuskegee Cemetery.

Memorials may be sent to a charity of your choice.






J. T. Vaughan, Dean Emeritus     January 2015

College of Veterinary Medicine 

Auburn University, Alabama 36849


Full Name:    John Thomas Vaughan        


Place of Birth:    Tuskegee, Alabama


Profession:    Doctor of Veterinary Medicine


Married to:    Ethel Evelyn Sell


Children:    John Thomas, Faythe, Michael Sell


Credentials:    Auburn University, D.V.M. - 1955

Auburn University, M.S. - 1963

American College of Veterinary Surgeons - Diplomate, 1968; 

Inaugural examination class

Practice License - AL, FL, NC, NY


Career Positions:    


  Department of Large Animal Surgery and Medicine    1955-1959    Instructor

  College of Veterinary Medicine                1959-1964    Assistant Professor

  Auburn University, Alabama:                1964-1970    Associate Professor


Large Animal Hospital                    1970-1974

New York State College of Veterinary Medicine        Professor of Surgery and Hospital Director

Cornell University, Ithaca, NY                (Tenured 1973)


Department of Large Animal Surgery and Medicine    1974-1977    

College of Veterinary Medicine                Professor and Head

Auburn University, Alabama:    


College of Veterinary Medicine                1977-1995

Auburn University, Alabama:                Dean


Membership in Professional and Civic Organizations:


American Veterinary Medical Association, 1955-Present; Honor Roll, July 2003

Alabama Veterinary Medical Association, 1955-Present; Life Member, 2003

American Association of Equine Practitioners, 1961-Present; President-1981; 

Distinguished Life Membership, 1999; Distinguished Educator Award, 2009

Rotary International, Auburn Club, 1963-Present

American College of Veterinary Surgeons, 1968-Present; President-1980, 

Board of Regents, 1974-1982

Association of American Veterinary Medical Colleges, 1977-1995

Chairman-Elect, Council of Deans - 1984

Commission (Board) on Veterinary Medicine, National Association of State Universities 

and Land Grant Colleges, Chairman - 1986-87 and 1990-94

Commission on Food, Environment and Renewable Resources, 1990-1995


Listed in:    


Who’s Who in America                    Personalities of America

The Blue Book                     Dictionary of International Biography

Who’s Who in Frontier Science and Technology



Creative Works:


Textbook, Bovine and Equine Urogenital Surgery.  Walker, D.F. and Vaughan, J. T., 1980

Textbook, Atlas of Skin Diseases of the Horse.  Montes, L.F. and Vaughan, J.T., 1983

Twenty-two 22 chapters in textbooks

Numerous published articles in refereed journals and proceedings

Quarterly Column, Auburn Veterinarian, 1977-Present


Recent Lectures:

Centennial History of the College of Veterinary Medicine, April 2007

Professional Liability in Equine Practice, Risk Management and Loss Control, November 2007

and January, April, July and December 2008.

    Auburn Was Not an Accident- The Geopolitics/Origins of Veterinary Medicine at Auburn, 

        Commencement Address, May 2013


Honors, Prizes, and Awards:


Phi Eta Sigma, Phi Kappa Phi, Alpha Zeta, Phi Zeta, Sigma Xi, Phi Beta Delta, 

Gamma Sigma Delta

Graduated with Highest Honor, 1955

Upjohn Award, 1955

Alabama Veterinary Medical Association Veterinarian of the Year, 1985

Annual Award of Alabama Academy of Veterinary Practice, 1987

The Inaugural R. D. Turk Memorial Lecture, College of Veterinary Medicine, 

Texas A & M University, 1987

National Academies of Practice

Reese L. Smith Award, 1994

Commencement Addresses:    

University of Pennsylvania, University of Missouri, Louisiana State University, 

Texas A & M University, Mississippi State University, and Auburn University    

Honorary Member of Southeastern Livestock Exposition, 1994-Present

Citations by Governor, State Legislature (House and Senate) and U. S. Senate 

(Congressional Record), 1995

Emeritus Life Member, Phi Kappa Phi, 1995                        

U.S. Department of Agriculture, Certificate of Appreciation, 1995

Alabama Livestock Hall of Fame, 1996

Alabama Veterinary Medical Association Distinguished Service Award, 1996        

American Veterinary Medical Association President’s Award, 1996

Progressive Farmer Magazine, Special Tribute, 1996

Auburn University College of Veterinary Medicine Centennial Club, Honorary 

Lifetime Membership, 2001    

The Mark Allam Lecturer, American College of Veterinary Surgeons, San Diego, CA, October 2002

The John Thomas Vaughan Large Animal Teaching Hospital, Auburn University, August 2003

Auburn Alumni Association Lifetime Achievement Award, March 2007

Association of American Veterinary Medical Colleges Special Recognition Award and Lecture, 

March 2008

    Invited Lecturer or Consultant to 36 states and District of Columbia, Canada, Guatemala, Brazil, and 



Other Associations and Activities:


John and Mary Franklin Foundation Lectures Committee, 1977-1998

Auburn University Senate, 1978-1995

Auburn University Core Curriculum Commission, Chair, 1985-1990    

Hughston Orthopaedic Research Foundation: Board of Trustees, 1985

Compass Bank: Advisory Board of Directors, Auburn, 1985 - 2002; Emeritus Director 2003-Present

Consultant to University of San Carlos, Guatemala, 1989-90        

National Horse Show Commission, Consultant, 1990-2000

Southern Association of Colleges and Schools, Site Visit Accreditation Team, 1991-1994

Diabetes Trust Fund, 1993-1997; Board of Directors, President - 1995

U.S. Animal Health Association Consultant on Horse Protection Act, representing AAEP, 1994    

Alabama Horse Council, Board of Directors, 1995-1997; Honorary Life Member 1997

Consultant to Federal University of Goias, Goiania, Brasil - 1996

American Veterinary Medical Association Professional Liability Insurance Trust, 1996-2009; Chairman 2001-2003

Auburn University Retirees Association, 1995-Present, President 2005 and 2009

Perdido Bay Foundation Board of Trustees, 2004-2010

The Origins of Veterinary Medicine at Auburn, Against the Backdrop of Five Centuries of History (A 

    Work in Progress), 2007-Present

The A.V.M.A. Award 2015 Boston, MA

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Graveside Service
January 20, 2023

2:00 PM
Tuskegee Cemetery
Tuskegee Cemetery
Tuskegee, AL 36083


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