O.S.U. honors Grandin with endowed professorship

by Bryan Salvage
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STILLWATER, OKLA. – Fresh on the heels of winning seven Emmy awards for the HBO film, “Temple Grandin,” the honors continue for animal-handling expert, Dr. Temple Grandin. The Oklahoma Beef Council has announced a $250,000 gift to Oklahoma State University’s newly created endowed professorship in honor of Dr. Grandin, who operates Grandin Livestock Systems Inc., and is a faculty member in the animal science department at Colorado State Univ. Dr. Grandin is also a long-time contributing editor for Meat&Poultry magazine.

The announcement was made by Heather Buckmaster, Oklahoma Beef Council executive director, during a Sept. 15 seminar featuring Dr. Grandin, which was held in O.S.U.’s Gallagher-Iba Arena. More than 3,000 people attended the seminar.

“Funding the Temple Grandin Endowed Professorship in Animal Behavior and Well-Being is important to the cattle industry because the resulting research and education will help further our understanding of animal behavior and animal care,” Buckmaster said. “There is a direct link between improved animal care, performance, beef quality and ultimately beef demand. It’s a win for the producer and the consumer.”

O.S.U.’s department of animal science will house the Temple Grandin Endowed Professorship in Animal Behavior and Well-Being. The department is part of the university’s Division of Agricultural Sciences and Natural Resources, comprised of the College of Agricultural Sciences and Natural Resources and two state agencies: the Oklahoma Agricultural Experiment Station system and the Oklahoma Cooperative Extension Service.

“Her life story has inspired many in terms of her ability to overcome obstacles,” said Ron Kensinger, head of the department of animal science. “Her career-long accomplishments are a perfect illustration of how fundamental research may one day lead to tremendous practical advances. We are privileged to have friends who recognize the value of naming an endowed professorship in animal behavior and well-being in Dr. Grandin’s honor.”

This endowed professorship was created to enhance the research and teaching in the discipline of animal behavior and well-being, which is important to the general public, Kensinger said.

The research and teaching completed by the scientist in this position will complement existing programs in O.S.U.’s department of animal science on animal health, animal management, immunology and how animals interact with humankind. This will ensure that O.S.U. can educate the next generation of scientists to proliferate the work that Dr. Grandin initiated, he added.

“Dr. Temple Grandin is a special person to the cattle industry because she has greatly expanded our knowledge and understanding of animal behavior, which has translated to huge strides in animal care and handling on farm and in packing plants,” Buckmaster said. Currently, 50% of the cattle processed in the U.S. today are through systems created by Dr. Temple Grandin. She has pushed us as an industry while helping to inspire trust in our systems.”
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