Nielsen's appointment is in recognition of his contributions to veterinary medicine in Canada as an academic and administrator during his career that spans more than 50 years.
Originally from Edmonton, Alta., Nielsen received his Doctor of Veterinary Medicine (DVM) degree from OVC in 1956 and his PhD degree from the University of Minnesota in 1963. He joined the U of S in 1964 as an associate professor of veterinary pathology and was heavily involved in the design and construction of the new Western College of Veterinary Medicine (WCVM) that opened in 1968.
Nielsen went on to serve as dean at two of Canada's veterinary schools: the Western College of Veterinary Medicine (1974-1982) at the University of Saskatchewan and the Ontario Veterinary College (1985-1994) at the University of Guelph.
More recently, he also played an important role in establishing the new Faculty of Veterinary Medicine at the University of Calgary. For his efforts, he received the Order of the University of Calgary in 2012.
In 1996, the U of S presented Nielsen with an honorary Doctor of Laws in recognition for his many contributions the WCVM and the university. He was instrumental in the establishment of the Prairie Swine Centre, the Toxicology Centre and the Veterinary Infectious Disease Organization (now known as the Vaccine and Infectious Disease Organization-International Vaccine Centre).
Nielsen is well published in the areas of livestock disease, biomedical science, ecosystem health and conservation, and veterinary professional affairs and education. He continues to advocate within the veterinary profession for its greater involvement in ecosystem health and ecological medicine.
Established in 1967, the Order of Canada recognizes outstanding achievement, dedication to the community and service to the nation. A Member (CM) of the Order of Canada recognizes outstanding contributions at the local or regional levels or in a special field of activity.
Over the last 49 years, more than 6 500 people from all sectors of society have been invested into the Order. One of Nielsen's former WCVM colleagues — Dr. Otto Radostits — was invested as a Member of the Order of Canada in 2003.
The most recent Order of Canada recipients will accept their insignia during a ceremony later in 2016.