Purdue animal sciences alumni to be recognized

October 27, 2010

WEST LAFAYETTE, Ind. – Six alumni will be recognized by the Purdue University Department of Animal Sciences at the Distinguished Animal Science Alumni Awards Ceremony Nov. 5.

The awards will be presented to three groups of alumni: those who recently graduated, those at the pinnacle of their careers and those who have had a lifetime of achievements. The ceremony will be at 2 p.m. in Lilly Hall of Life Science, Room 3113.

"The purpose of the awards ceremony is to honor Purdue Animal Science alumni who have had exemplary careers," said Alan Sutton, interim department head. "Friends, family and alumni from throughout the state and across campus will come together to celebrate the accomplishments of our alumni at the awards program."

Recipients of the Early Career Award are:

* Heather Hill, of Greenfield, Ind., who received her bachelor's degree in animal science from Purdue University in 1999 and a master's degree in business administration from Indiana Wesleyan University in 2004. She is the territory manager of Pfizer Animal Health, where she manages the majority of swine producer and veterinarian accounts in Indiana, Kentucky and Tennessee. She also designs and implements business development events and is co-owner and operator of Hill Farms LLC and the family owned farm fresh Pork Shoppe.

* David Hardin, manager of Hardin Farms near Danville, Ind.  He received a bachelor's degree in animal science from Purdue in 1996 and a master's degree in business administration from DePaul University in 2002. Hardin is responsible for a 600-sow farrow-to-finish unit that produces 12,000 pigs annually. In 2006, he was president of the Indiana Pork Advocacy Coalition. He has been a member of the board of directors for the Indiana Pork Producers Association since 2005. David worked at the Chicago Board of Trade for two years in the grain futures division of RJ O'Brien. From 1996 to 2000, Hardin worked in the customer records division for JBS United (formerly United Feeds, Inc.).

Recipients of the Mid-Career Award are:

* Jeff Veenhuizen, of St. Louis, Mo., who earned his bachelor's degree in animal science from Purdue and a master's and doctorate in nutritional physiology from Iowa State University. He is the director of strategy and operations for Monsanto Global Regulatory and also regulatory chief of staff. He conducted diabetes research at the University of Georgia before joining Monsanto. Throughout his career, Veenhuizen has worked directly with dairy scientists and industry leaders to champion science-based evaluation of new products. From his work with Posilac, Veenhuizen has contributed greatly to the pioneering of large-scale production of biotechnology based products for animals.

* Geoff Waldbieser, of Cleveland, Miss., who received his bachelor's, master's and doctoral degrees in animal science at Purdue. His research led to the first transgenic mice to be produced at Purdue. After a postdoctoral research fellowship in the Department of Biochemistry, he spent two years with the Gene Evaluation and Mapping Laboratory of the U.S. Department of Agriculture's Agricultural Research Service, in Beltsville, Md. Since 1993, he has been a research molecular biologist in the ARS Catfish Genetics Research Unit in Stoneville, Miss., and also an adjunct professor at Mississippi State University. He is one the pioneers in the development and use of genomics to support the U.S. catfish industry and has developed methods to pedigree catfish and define catfish genetic lines.

Recipients of the Lifetime Career Award are:

* Tim Blosser, of Spokane, Wash., who earned his bachelor's degree from Purdue in 1941. After serving in the U.S. Army for 3 years and earning his master's and doctoral degrees in dairy husbandry and biochemistry with a minor in medical physiology from the University of Wisconsin-Madison, Blosser taught and conducted research in dairy cattle nutrition at Washington State University for 13 years. Blosser was chairman of the Department of Dairy Science for three years and chairman of the Department of Animal Sciences for 10 years. For the last 14 years of his professional career, Blosser served with the Agricultural Research Service of the USDA, first as a national program leader for dairy cattle research, then as a research animal scientist in the Ruminant Nutrition Laboratory in Beltsville, Md.

* Howard Unger, of Carlisle, Ind., who graduated from Purdue in 1960 with a bachelor's degree in animal science. After serving in the U.S. army, he and his wife began farming in Sullivan County. In 1997, he was inducted into the Indiana Livestock Breeders Hall of Fame and in 2000 received the Purdue Agricultural Alumni Association Certificate of Distinction. He was recognized as the Indiana Beef Cattle Association outstanding cattleman in 2001 and received the Robert Peterson Lifetime Achievement Award in 2004. Unger is active in the Sullivan County Cattleman's Association (president 1987-88), Indiana Beef Cattle Association (president 1995), Sullivan County Farm Bureau (director for 10 years) and National Cattlemen's Beef Association. Unger has also served as director and past president of the Indiana State Fair.

Writer: Erica Sullivan, 765-494-8402, esulliva@purdue.edu

Source: Barry Delks, 765-496-7234, delks@purdue.edu

Ag Communications: (765) 494-2722;
Keith Robinson, robins89@purdue.edu
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