Jack Upchurch, ’82

Author: UTIA Advancement

Last Updated:

Category: Award Winners

2019 College of Veterinary Medicine Distinguished Alumnus — Private Practice

Jack Upchurch

Jack Upchurch, UTCVM ’82, is recognized for his work in private practice. A recipient of the PCA (Farm Credit) Scholarship, Upchurch was in only the fourth class to graduate from UTCVM. His career began in Corbin, Kentucky, before opening his own private practice in Jamestown, Tennessee, just twenty minutes from his hometown. 

Upchurch Animal Clinic was the first veterinary clinic in Fentress County. Upchurch spent many of the early years at the clinic on farm visits, traveling to many counties in Tennessee and Kentucky. He often took his daughter and son along to learn. 

Some of his more unusual patients include monkeys, an alligator, and recently a kangaroo. His career has included countless middle-of-the-night phone calls or knocks on his door to save a beloved pet.

Upchurch added veterinary responsibilities in his community as his career progressed. These include the Jamestown Stockyard where he performed pregnancy checks, issued health certificates, and administered vaccinations. He has also been the veterinarian for the Jamestown Rotary Walking Horse Show and the Fentress County Fair Walking Horse Show since 1983.

In 1985, Upchurch partnered with the Fentress and Pickett County Health Departments to offer an Annual Rabies Vaccination Clinic to help regulate the Tennessee Anti-Rabies Law. For the past thirty-three years, he has offered vaccinations at a discounted rate and visits twelve different locations in both counties.

Upchurch has been active in disease prevention and response, worked closely with numerous animal rescue groups, and been active with area low cost spay/neuter clinics. During the 2002-2003 Newcastle Disease outbreak in California, Upchurch worked for the USDA for two years testing birds for the disease and euthanizing those infected. Locally, Upchurch has partnered with area shelters and groups to offer reduced price spays and neuter surgeries at his clinic.

It is clear that Upchurch has dedicated his career to caring for the animals of his local community. He has even given back through education. For several years he has taught Cow College, which is similar to UT Extension’s Master Beef Program. He has mentored several veterinary students and has had several high school students job shadow with him for many years.

Recently, the Triple W Livestock Auction in Cookeville, Tennessee, hired Upchurch for his veterinary services. He continues to practice at Upchurch Animal Clinic, where his daughter is now a veterinary technician. In his spare time, Upchurch works on his farm with his son raising beef cattle, Tennessee Walking Horses, and Quarter Horses.