Colorado State Department Celebrates Century of Excellence

The Department of Animal Sciences at Colorado State University will celebrate its 100-year anniversary during the 2003 Homecoming weekend, Oct. 3-5.

     The department, in the College of Agricultural Sciences, has served as a major area of study in the university, serving Colorado’s large and diverse livestock industries. The department’s strong commitment to research, teaching and Colorado State University Cooperative Extension and Outreach activities help make it the largest of five departments in the College of Agricultural Sciences.  The department offers undergraduate degrees in animal science and equine science.

The first department head, William L. Carlyle, was hired in 1903 to oversee the development of the Animal Husbandry department, as it was originally named.

"We have had many successes," said David Ames, professor and former department head of the animal sciences department. "But our greatest contributions are our 6,270 graduates, many of whom have provided leadership in the livestock industry."

Some highlighted accomplishments of the past century include food safety research such as the development of a steam vacuuming process to minimize bacterial contamination in beef carcasses. Researchers audited the beef industry to determine what traits in products would increase profitability such as the amount of fat on meat and the quality of hide for leather. They shared this information with the industry to improve products

The department also developed screening tests for high altitude disease in cattle because many cattle over 7,000 feet are affected with high mountain disease, which can be fatal.

Also included in the accomplishments is the development of estimated progeny differences, a test used in the industry to determine cattle genetics and the genetic value of an individual animal compared to the average of the breed.

Today, 100 years later, the department continues to research efficient and profitable production of safe and wholesome foods.

"The land-grant university’s mission has been fulfilled by the work of the people affiliated within the department," said Tom Field, alumnus and faculty member. "The marriage of ideas, practices and discovery within the context of livestock production has yielded a high degree of value to the people of Colorado, the region, the nation and the world."

"The attention to educating students and serving the livestock industries via research and extension is the historical land-grant paradigm, and within that context, the faculty and its students have led change and inspired innovation and continue to do so," said Kirvin Knox, alumnus, former faculty member in the animal sciences department and former dean and vice provost for agriculture and university outreach.  "Congratulations to all the students, staff and faculty. May the next century be as productive and progressive as the last."