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WSU’S Animal Science Department to Honor Three Alumni

PULLMAN, Wash. — Three Washington State University alumni will be honored Friday (April 12) at the 17th Annual Recognition Program of WSU’s animal sciences department.

Richard Appel, Dusty, received the Distinguished Service Award for support of the department’s joint sheep program with the University of Idaho.

“He has been very supportive of our programs and a stalwart spokesman for Northwest agriculture,” said Raymond Wright, department chair.

“When it became painfully clear that the department would have to close the WSU Sheep Center about a decade ago and join forces with the University of Idaho, Dick stepped up to the plate and agreed to serve on the UI Ag Advisory Board.”

Appel also serves as official liaison for the Washington State Sheep Producers to the joint UI-WSU Sheep Center.

“In that capacity he has represented both our interests and the interests of Washington’s sheep producers.”

Appel graduated from Washington State in 1959 with a bachelor’s degree in agricultural engineering. He has a flock of 150 ewes and farms 1,800 acres of wheat and barley near Dusty.

He and his wife Helen, who earned a bachelor’s degree at Washington State in 1961, have sent nine children to WSU. Seven have graduated, the eighth will graduate in May and the ninth is a sophomore in apparel merchandising.

Chester Steen, who earned a bachelor of science degree in dairy husbandry in 1939, received the department’s Outstanding Alumnus Award.

“Throughout his life, Chet has immersed himself in education, public service and church life and has traveled the world as an ambassador for agriculture,” Wright said.

Steen started his dairy career as one of 60 men from agricultural colleges across the United States and Canada selected to manage 150 purebred Jersey cows at the Borden Company’s World of Tomorrow exhibit at the 1939 World’s Fair in New York.

The group of 60 formed a strong bond and remained in touch. Steen later chronicled the lives of the Borden Boys in a series of books.

Steen was employed by the Walker Gordon Laboratory Co. in Plainsboro, N.J., from 1947-72. He was in charge of production of what at the time was the largest certified dairy in the world: 1,800 cows.

From 1972-83, Steen served as clerk of the Plainsboro Township and as the town’s first full-time administrator. He returned to Washington when he retired in 1983.

John Algeo, who earned two degrees at Washington State — a bachelor’s of science in 1948 and a master’s of science in 1949 — received the department’s Distinguished Graduate Award.

Algeo sandwiched a 26-year career as a premier consultant to the cattle industry, between two short stints as a member of the faculty and chairman of the animal science department at California Polytechnic State University, San Luis Obispo.

He taught animal science courses at Cal Poly from 1949 to 1954 before becoming director of nutrition and research at the Sinton and Brown feed yard near Santa Maria, Calif. He supervised the feeding of 60,000 cattle and established one of the first private beef cattle research facilities.

Algeo became an independent consultant in 1959, providing technical expertise to cattle feeders and allied industries throughout the United States and abroad. He also conducted feeding research and was issued several patents as a result of his work.

At one time he and a handful of others managed the nutrition programs of the majority of the cattle on feed in the United States and nine other countries. He mentored numerous people and served as a guest lecturer at Kansas State, Colorado State and other universities.

Algeo returned to academia in 1985 to become head of the animal science department at Cal Poly, retiring there in 1992 but continued to work as a consultant.

The banquet will be held at the Best Western Inn, Moscow, Idaho.

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