The Oklahoma Beef Council announces a $250,000 gift to Oklahoma State University’s newly created endowed professorship in honor of animal scientist and autistic expert Temple Grandin.

Heather Buckmaster, Oklahoma Beef Council executive director, made the announcement during a Sept. 15 special seminar featuring Grandin, which was held in OSU’s historic Gallagher-Iba Arena.

“We are fortunate in Oklahoma to have visionary leaders at the Oklahoma Beef Council who recognized the importance of animal care and handling through science-based research,” Buckmaster said. “As we begin fundraising for a professorship in the name of a woman who has meant so much to our industry, we–the Oklahoma Beef Council, our board of directors and the 55,000 farming and ranching families OBC serves–are very proud to announce our commitment of $250,000 for the Temple Grandin Endowed Professorship in Animal Behavior and Well-Being.”

That $250,000 gift will be matched by the generosity of T. Boone Pickens’ 2008 chair and professorship match as part of the $1 billion Branding Success campaign. The state legislature previously committed to matching Pickens’ portion, resulting in a total impact of $750,000.

The Temple Grandin Endowed Professorship in Animal Behavior and Well-Being will be housed in OSU’s department of animal science. 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 (Grandin) 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.”

The purpose of creating this endowed professorship is 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 OSU’s department of animal science on animal health, animal management, immunology and how animals interact with humankind. This will ensure that OSU can educate the next generation of scientists to proliferate the work that Grandin initiated.

“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,” Buckmaster said. “She is the gold standard in determining low-stress cattle handling.”

Farmers and ranchers care for their animals every day not only because it’s the right thing to do, but also because it ensures the success of the family ranches and farms, she said.

“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, which impacts cattle performance and profitability in addition to beef quality and ensures the sustainability of our family farms and ranches,” Buckmaster said. “It’s a win for the producer and the consumer.”

With support from other organizations and individuals, the Oklahoma Beef Council and OSU hope to raise another $250,000 to boost the endowment to the more prestigious chair level. For more information or to help, contact Kathy McNally with the OSU Foundation at 405-385-5606 or KMcNally@OSUgiving.com.