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Society honors Animal Sciences teacher John McNamara

Posted by | August 3, 2016
John McNamara, recipient of the American Society of Animal Science Fellow Award for teaching.
John McNamara, recipient of the American Society of Animal Science Fellow Award for teaching.

John McNamara, emeritus professor of Animal Sciences at Washington State University, received national recognition for his more than 30 years of training future animal scientists last month.

McNamara earned the American Society of Animal Science (ASAS) Fellow Award, in the teaching category, at its annual meeting July 21 in Salt Lake City, Utah.

“It’s a very nice recognition after a 43-year career,” said McNamara, who has worked at WSU since 1983 and retired this year.

McNamara is one of a small group of scientists who has been awarded fellow status by both the American Dairy Sciences Association and the ASAS.

While officially retired, he continues to train teachers in agriculture, pets and the food supply, and is a board member of the Washington Science Teachers Association. He also continues to publish articles on dairy biology, and works on ‘electronic cows’—mathematical dairy cattle models.

As a teacher, McNamara says he aims to inspire students to obtain basic technical knowledge and become scientifically literate learners. He also helps students learn to balance facts, emotions, and the political, social and economic issues surrounding people and animals.

McNamara thanks his early mentors at the University of Illinois, faculty members Dale Bauman, Carl Davis and Jimmy Clark.

“Not only did they teach me to be a scientist, but also a faculty member,” he said.

During the 1980s, Emeritus Professor Jim Carlson, a former department chair and associate dean, encouraged and helped McNamara and other young professors to do their best for society and industry.

Another mentor, WSU Emeritus Professor Joe Hillers, “taught me to take students as they were and help them achieve their potential,” McNamara said.

Jane Parker, a nationally recognized advising professional who retired in 2012 following 36 years at WSU,  helped him become a caring and effective student advisor. Last spring, McNamara was the inaugural recipient of the Jane Parker Award for Service to the WSU Advising Community, presented by the WSU Academic Advising Association.

McNamara was also one of the first recipients of excellence in research and advising awards from the College of Agricultural, Human and Natural Resource Sciences and an early member of the WSU Teaching Academy.