Recently retired Oklahoma State University animal science department head Donald G. Wagner’s resume has yet another prestigious award.

A 2007 Fellow of the American Society of Animal Science (ASAS), Wagner was inducted into the Oklahoma Higher Education Hall of Fame. Under his direction since 1990, the department emerged as the largest undergraduate major and scholarship program at OSU and developed state-of-the-art beef cattle and swine research facilities.

“I think there is no question that Wagner has helped bring animal science at OSU into a new era,” said Ron Kensinger, current department head. “He really provided very effective leadership.”

Kensinger credited Wagner for bringing diversity to the faculty; Wagner hired the first woman in the department, as well as addressed new courses and programs for a progressing student body.

“He has been recognized for his teaching and research as well as his administration,” said Bob Wettemann, OSU Regents professor of animal science. “He had a good working relationship with livestock producers, as well as students and faculty members. It takes a very unique individual.”

Wagner earned his Bachelor of Science degree from Ohio State University is 1959, before heading to Cornell University to receive his Master of Science and doctoral degrees. Shortly after, he joined the OSU faculty in 1965 with whom he spent several years in Ethiopia, Africa, as part of a U.S. program started by the Harry S. Truman Administration to provide economic development assistance to less developed countries.

Upon his return, Wagner taught courses in animal nutrition, beef production and livestock feeding, including off-campus, graduate-level classes throughout the state. His research brought forth a greater understanding of the nutritional value of sorghum grain as a livestock feed, and was credited with significant economic gains for the cattle industry.

“Obviously, he is an extremely intelligent person,” said Dave Freeman, OSU Cooperative Extension equine specialist and professor of animal science. “He was always keenly interested in the stakeholders. He did a very good job of interpreting research and was interested in teaching methods and practices, not only in the classroom, but also to stakeholders. He is dedicated to education.”

That dedication lasted 40 years at OSU, as Wagner’s extensive service to the university included a term as chair of the OSU Faculty Council and earning the 1985 Sarkeys Foundation-Elmo Baumann Distinguished Professorship, one of the premier honors presented by the OSU Division of Agricultural Sciences and Natural Resources.

Ohio State honored him with its Distinguished Alumnus Award in 1991, which is the same year he received the ASAS Distinguished Teacher Award. Also included on the resume are multiple Alumni Association/Blue Key Outstanding Teacher and Alpha Zeta Outstanding Teacher awards.

Recommended for you