Jason Ross, 2022-present
Dr. Jason Ross is an Iowa native with a family heritage in Iowa agriculture. Ross earned his B.S. in Animal Science from Iowa State University and then earned his M.S. in Animal Science and Ph.D. in Animal Reproduction with a minor in Biochemistry, both advanced degrees from Oklahoma State University. Ross then worked in the Division of Animal Sciences at the University of Missouri for two years before joining the Iowa State University Animal Science faculty in 2008. Since then Ross developed a prolific research program in swine reproduction and biotechnology, advised undergraduate students, and taught graduate and undergraduate courses. In 2015, Ross became the 3rd Director of the Iowa Pork Industry Center where he led synergistic efforts across departments and programs to support Iowa and U.S. pork producers, a role he held until assuming the responsibilities of Animal Science Chair in August, 2022.
Dan Thomson, 2020-2021
Dr. Dan U. Thomson is a third generation bovine veterinarian from Clearfield, IA. Dr. Thomson received his BS in Animal Science and DVM from Iowa State University. Dr. Thomson completed a MS in Ruminant Nutrition from South Dakota State University and a PhD in Ruminant Nutrition from Texas Tech University. Dr. Thomson is Professor and Chair of the Department of Animal Science Department at Iowa State University. Dr. Thomson previously held the Jones Professor of Production Medicine and Epidemiology at Kansas State University’s College of Veterinary Medicine. He has served as the Global Co-leader for McDonald’s Beef Health and Welfare Committee, sits on the YUM! Animal Welfare Council, chairs the Animal Welfare Committee of the National Cattlemen’s Beef Association and serves on the Animal Welfare Advisory Board of Tyson Fresh Meats. Dr. Thomson was an associate veterinarian with Veterinary Research and Consulting Services in Greeley, CO. He then served as the Director of Animal Health and Well-being for Cactus Feeders in Amarillo, TX. Dr. Thomson still practices feedlot medicine in Nebraska, Kansas, Iowa and Texas. Thomson is an owner/partner in PAC veterinary and research services which oversees the veterinary care, health and well-being for 20% of the U.S. cattle of feed.
Dr. Thomson teaches farm animal production medicine, welfare and nutrition. He received the National Excellence in Teaching Award by the Association of Public and Land-Grant Universities in 2012 along with the Teaching Excellence award from the College of Veterinary Medicine in 2005, 2009, 2013 and 2019. In 2015, Thomson was awarded the National BQA Educator award from the National Cattlemen’s Beef Association. He is the founder and director of the Executive Veterinary Program for Beef Cattle Practitioners in a partnership with the University of Illinois and teaches in the Feedlot Shortcourse each year produced by the Iowa Beef Center at Iowa State University
Donald Beermann, 2015 - 2020
An Iowa native from Crawford County, Beermann received his B.S. in Animal Science from Iowa State University. He received his M.S. in Animal Science and his PhD in Muscle Biology and Human Physiology from the University of Wisconsin-Madison. After serving on the faculty in the Animal Science and Food Science Departments at Cornell University for 21 years, he was department head for the Department of Animal Science for 9 years at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln. He also served as Institutional Animal Care Program Director for 4 years and his last year as Interim Associate Dean for the School of Veterinary Medicine and Biomedical Science at UNL. Beermann was Chair of Animal Science at ISU from January 4, 2015 through January 6, 2020. His vision was to maintain the strong partnerships between the livestock, poultry and meat industries in the state with the department, college, and Iowa State University. Fifteen faculty were hired, and the department faculty and programs were recognized for excellence during the time he led the department. During his 5 years as department chair, new facilities included a poultry farm, completion of plans and a contract for a feed mill and grain science complex, and finalized plans for swine teaching and research facilities. The undergraduate student anatomy laboratory received a new video camera and monitors system, new student study space and renovated Information Technology space were created, and undergraduate student enrollment peaked remained above 1000 students.
Maynard G. Hogberg, 2003- 2015
A native Iowan from Montgomery County, Hogberg received his B.S. in Agriculture Education, M.S. and PhD. in Animal Science from Iowa State University. After serving on the faculty in Animal Science at Michigan State University for 27 years and 18 years as department chair, he returned to Iowa State University as department chair of Animal Science in 2003. His vision was to strengthen Animal Agriculture in Iowa and the Department of Animal Science through a strong partnership between the livestock industry and Iowa State University. Outstanding faculty were hired and the department was recognized for its excellence during the time he led the department. During his tenure as department chair, new and renovated facilities included a dairy farm, a horse barn, a swine breeding and gestation barn, the Jeff and Deb Hansen Agriculture Student Learning Center and non-ruminant nutrition laboratory. Undergraduate student enrollment doubled to more than 1000 students. The national Egg Industry Center and the U.S. Pork Center of Excellence were established at ISU during his tenure.
Susan J. Lamont, 2001 -2003
An Illinois native, Sue came to Iowa State in 1983 to lead the poultry genetics program after earning her Ph.D. at Illinois and conducting postdoctoral studies at the University of Massachusetts. She devoted her efforts to graduate education and a world-renowned program of research in molecular genetics of poultry. As chair, she guided the department through a period of extreme budget constriction, with a focus on high-priority mission areas that provided a strong foundation for continued excellence and future growth. Sue was the first female tenured faculty member and the first female chair of the department.
Dennis N. Marple, 1992-2001
As Head of the Department of Animal Science beginning in 1992, Denny Marple oversaw the planning and construction of the $20-million addition that was opened November 1998. Denny grew up on a northwest Iowa farm and entered Iowa State University in the curriculum of electrical engineering. That strong farm background prevailed, however, and he graduated in animal science. His graduate work at Iowa State and Purdue was in swine. He headed the animal and dairy science department at Auburn University before coming to Iowa State. Denny led the faculty with innovation that kept the department at the forefront as a leader in animal science land-grant schools.
Solon A. Ewing, 1973-1992
As the eighth department head, "Bud" Ewing led the faculty longer than any previous head. His efforts in developing value-added product processing and marketing, systems analyses and computer applications for refined management decisions in animal production and marketing, and molecular biology benefited all of Iowa animal agriculture. He was able to attract and build a quality faculty, bringing recognition to the department and prestige and international prominence to the university. He provided significant direction in both concept and development of several centers and facilities at Iowa State University, including the Meat Laboratory, Meat Export Research Center, Swine Nutrition and Management Research Center, Iowa Livestock Extension Initiative and Linear Accelerator Facility.
Lanoy N. Hazel, 1967-1973
A Texas panhandler by birth, Hazel came to Iowa State in 1939 with an M.S. degree in genetics to study with Jay L. Lush who had written a book that puzzled Hazel. Thus began a long and close relationship that continued over three decades. This was also the beginning of a research and teaching career filled with seminal developments that changed both the practices of animal breeding and the scientific methodologies supporting breeding research. In 1968, Hazel reluctantly shifted his focus from direct teaching and research and became an administrator, Head of the large and diverse Animal Science Department at Iowa State University, until 1973 when he retired.
Leslie E. Johnson, 1954-1967
A native Iowan from Mahaska County, Johnson attended Penn College for two years and then enrolled at Iowa State College. He graduated in 1929 and marrying his college sweetheart in 1930. His M.S. degree came in 1938 and a Ph.D. degree in 1941, all in animal science. After heading animal science at South Dakota State University and work for the USDA in Nebraska, he returned to Iowa State College in 1954 as Head of the Department of Animal Husbandry. His twelve years of leadership were marked by tremendous growth and laid the foundation still in place today. Especially, he attracted top men of talent and ability. Departmental focus became sectional rather than unified. Undergraduate teaching improved, and graduate student enrollment grew. In 1959 the centennial celebration of Iowa State College saw the name change to Iowa State University. In 1962, the Department of Animal Husbandry became Department of Animal Science. All livestock was moved off campus in 1965 to the Animal Science Teaching Farm and the department moved into Kildee Hall, with Dean Kildee attending.
Phineas S. Shearer, 1935-1954
Born in Marshall County, Iowa, he earned his B.S. degree at Iowa State in 1912 and his M.S. from Wyoming in 1932. After one year at Nebraska he joined the faculty at Iowa State in 1913. As an instructor at ISC, he also took graduate courses, where, with C. N. Arnett, an instructor in livestock management, they conceived the idea of making campus livestock classes competitive. They formed the first stock show, now known as the "Little International" in which animal husbandry students fit and show college-owned livestock. From 1919-1934, he served as coach of the livestock judging team, during which period Iowa State's team placed first three times at the International Livestock Exposition in Chicago, and only once below tenth place in the 16 years. In 1932 Shearer's team became the first judging team to win top honors at both the International and the Royal. As head of the department, research programs emphasized meat production, genetic improvement of livestock and swine and sheep feeding.
Henry H. Kildee, 1918-1935
Born to a farm couple at Osage, Iowa, Dean Kildee was a dairy farmer. Graduating with a B.S. degree from Iowa State in 1908, he joined the staff of ISC in 1909 and the following year was made head of dairy husbandry. He went to the University of Minnesota as head of dairy industry. He returned to ISC in 1918 as head of animal husbandry and a year later was also named vice-dean of agriculture for resident instruction. Students, dairy cattle breeders, and judging of most species of livestock were his loves, to which he devoted his keen insights and patient time. A most beloved teacher, he guided and inspired students and breeders of dairy cattle, judged shows, served on committees of true type, unified score cards, and type classification, and was a type classifier with Holsteins and Jerseys.
W. H. Pew, 1912-1918
An only child of a prominent steel manufacturing president at Youngstown, Ohio, Bill Pew grew up on a farm and early on was fond of the animals. His truly cultured and refined parents did not try to change him but encouraged his desire to be a stock farmer by sending him to The Ohio State University to study agriculture. But he followed the advice of Horace Greeley, Go West, young man, go West and became a student at Iowa State College, an institution known the world over for its practical live stock instructional work. A member of a well-known social fraternity at OSU, he did not see fraternity life at Iowa State, but instead helped at the swine barns. Graduating from Iowa State in 1907, he became Head of the Animal Husbandry Department of New Hampshire State College. He returned to Iowa State in 1909 and in 1912 was named Head. He was known as a very able administrator. In 1918 he resigned to return to his father's farm where he rose to top breeder status in Shorthorn cattle and Poland China hogs. He was a noted judge as well. At the 1926 Philadelphia Exposition he was swayed to go to the 5,000-acre Briarcliff Farm in western New York with a herd of 1,000 purebred Aberdeen Angus cattle, where he built the largest such herd in the country. He was very active in 4-H work.
W. J. Kennedy, 1902-1912
A Canadian who went to Illinois, Kennedy distinguished himself by producing the top steer at the very first International Live Stock Exposition at Chicago. His team also took home the judging trophy in 1900, thereby catching the eye of C. F. Curtiss, a director of the Exposition. Kennedy continued to train top judging teams for Iowa State in 1901, 1902 and 1903, winning permanently for the school the magnificent J. A. Spoor Trophy, a Bonheur bronze of the bull in defiance stance, still exhibited with great pride by the department. After heading the animal husbandry department for four years, he was named vice direction of the experiment station by Dean Curtiss in 1906. In 1912 he was named head of the Extension Department. Kennedy is also noted for hiring R. K. Bliss who worked in ISU Extension for over 50 years.
Charles F. Curtiss, 1889-1902
The first head of animal husbandry at Iowa State College, Dean Curtiss was born in Illinois but grew ups on a farm 10 miles north of the Iowa State Campus. In 1887, he earned his B.S. from ISC and joined the faculty in 1891. Curtiss was made professor of animal husbandry in 1896 and head in 1889. He received his M.S. from ISC in 1894, one of three granted before the turn of the century. When Curtiss joined the faculty, there was one course and one instructor in agriculture. He formulated a four-year curriculum adopted in 1892. Curtiss developed the teaching herds, first importing a Scottish Shorthorn bull. He bought cows and sheep, as well. He published bulletins regularly on many topics to help Iowa farmers, then the several staff members of animal husbandry began publishing. He promoted ISC with the livestock judging teams and the grand championships won by fat stock at the major expositions, Chicago in particular. From 1900 to 1932, the year he retired, Iowa teams were first one-third of the time and in the top three almost two-thirds of the time. His love of animals and agriculture propelled him into the deanship where he made science a top priority for the college.