Penn State faculty member recognized by dairy and animal science groups

UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. — Terry Etherton, head of the Department of Animal Science in Penn State's College of Agricultural Sciences, received the 2019 Distinguished Service Award at the recent annual meeting of the Northeast Section of the American Society of Animal Science (ASAS) and the Northeast Branch of the American Dairy Science Association (ADSA) in Hershey.

The award, which recognizes outstanding contributions to the broad field of animal and dairy science, is presented to a candidate with a long and distinguished career related to all areas of food animal production.

Etherton is a nationally and internationally recognized researcher who has greatly influenced animal agriculture from both a science and political advocacy perspective. A distinguished professor of animal nutrition, he was named head of the Department of Dairy and Animal Science (now the Department of Animal Science) in 1998.

Etherton received a bachelor's degree in agricultural science and a master's degree in animal science, both from the University of Illinois. He earned a doctorate in animal science from the University of Minnesota and was an NIH postdoctoral fellow at Stanford University prior to joining the Penn State faculty as an assistant professor in 1979. 

Known for his research in the area of endocrine regulation of animal growth and nutrient metabolism, Etherton was the first to establish that administration of recombinantly derived porcine growth hormone to growing pigs improves growth rate, increases muscle mass and decreases body fat.

"Dr. Etherton has provided outstanding leadership to the department, as well as to other organizations," said Tara Felix, president of the Northeast Section of ASAS/ADSA and assistant professor of animal science at Penn State. "He was honored with this award as a result of the significant impacts he has had on both animal and dairy science over the years."

Etherton noted that he is grateful to the societies that sponsored the award. "In addition to honoring my contributions, this recognition reflects, in a most significant way, the many contributions made by my colleagues over the years to advance education, research and extension that have benefited society and animal agriculture," he said.

Major construction projects underway through Etherton's leadership will further enhance the department's undergraduate and graduate programs as it upgrades facilities. Penn State has committed more than $120 million to new construction projects, including replacing the Henning Building, the department's home, with a new building that will be completed in 2021; a new free-stall dairy barn and anaerobic manure digester; and enhancements to both the Horse Farm and Meats Laboratory.

Under Etherton's leadership, Penn State's Department of Animal Science boasts many acclaimed teaching, research and extension programs that benefit the northeastern U.S. In addition, the department is the only one in the Northeast that maintains all types of farms important for food animal production, a total of 10 farms.

Etherton has provided strong support for undergraduate student clubs, academic teams and judging teams, including helping procure resources to help offset the costs of these valuable learning experiences. The Dairy Science Club, Block and Bridle Club, and Poultry Science Club all have been nationally recognized for their excellence. Travel abroad opportunities also have expanded learning opportunities for many students.

A member of the American Society for Nutrition and ADSA, Etherton served as president of the American Society of Animal Science (2003-04) and the Federation of Animal Science Societies (2005-06).

He was named the 87th Little International Dedicatee by the Penn State Block and Bridle Club, and he received the 2004 Service Award from Penn State's Dairymen's Club and the 2008 Booster Award from the Penn State Stockmen's Club. In 2016 he received the Pennsylvania Distinguished Dairy Service Award from the Pennsylvania Dairymen's Association, the Center for Dairy Excellence and the Professional Dairy Managers of Pennsylvania.

Terry Etherton, Distinguished Professor of Animal Nutrition and head of the Department of Animal Science. Credit: Penn StateCreative Commons

Last Updated November 18, 2019