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WSU Animal Sciences Department Honors Four

PULLMAN, Wash. — Washington State University’s animal sciences department honored three alumni and a supporter at the department’s annual awards banquet Friday (April 7).

W.R. (Reg) Gomes, the chief administrative officer for the Division of Agriculture and Natural Resources at the University of California, was honored for his achievements as a research scientist and college administrator.

Gomes, who received a master’s in dairy science at WSU in 1962, also serves as director of the California Agricultural Experiment Station and California Cooperative Extension.

Prior to his present position, Gomes was a professor at Ohio State University, department head at the University of Illinois, and later, dean of the College of Agriculture at the University of Illinois.

Gomes received the Distinguished Alumni in Science, Education and Technology Award.

Joe Blake and Dan Coonrad, former employees of the animal sciences department, received the department’s Outstanding Alumnus Award for long and dedicated service.

Blake, who now lives in Pullman, grew up on a poultry farm between Sultan and Monroe, remained in Pullman after receiving a bachelor’s of science degree in agriculture at WSU in 1955, and served as a dairy herdsman at the J.C. Knott Dairy Center for 37 years.

He coached WSU’s dairy teams from 1962 until his retirement. He also judged at many fairs as well as for the Washington State Dairy Family of the Year and the State Dairy Princess Program. He was elected into the Washington Purebred Dairy Cattle Association’s Hall of Fame in 1983 and in 1993 he received the Henry Dykstra Outstanding WSU Dairy Alumni Award.

Dan Coonrad, who grew up in the Kittitas Valley, earned a bachelor’s of science degree in agriculture at WSU in 1963. He was hired as beef herdsman in 1967 and remained at WSU for 36 years. He makes his home in Pullman.

He coached the Livestock Judging Team for about 25 years, including the 1970 team that won the Pacific International. He has been active in a number of cattle organizations and has held numerous offices. He and his wife Karen served as advisers for the Northwest Junior Angus Association for 15 years and were named National Junior Angus Advisors of the Year in 1988.

Max Fernandez, a Silverdale Centerville rancher, received the department’s distinguished service award for support of departmental research. He donated Wagyu crossbred cattle to the department in 1998 to further research on the Japanese beef breed known for meat tenderness.

Fernandez, a retired oil exploration manager for British Petroleum, operates one of the last two range sheep outfits in the state, carrying on a family tradition that dates back to the 15th century in Spain.

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