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Carbohydrate Economy, Dairy Challenge, Honored Alumni

Posted by | April 16, 2008

Grant Fuels Carbohydrate Ecnomy

Developing plants that include more of what it takes to replace petrochemicals in fuels, plastics and other applications is the focus of an $840,000 USDA grant awarded to Washington State University Regents Professor Norman G. Lewis.

The three-year award is part of an $18.4 million investment into biomass research, development and demonstration projects by USDA and the U.S. Department of Energy. The funded projects specifically aim to break down critical barriers to making the production of biomass more efficient and cost effective. Only 21 of the 750 proposals submitted from researchers throughout the U.S. received funding.

Jim Fitzgerald, chief of staff for the undersecretary of USDA’s Rural Development agency and a WSU alumnus, presented the grant April 10.

“Biofuels get most of the attention, but they’re just the tip of the iceberg,” Fitzgerald said. “More and more of the things we make from oil we can now, in a sense, grow in the fields. The carbohydrate economy is a tremendous opportunity, and this grant will help unlock that potential.”

Regent's Professor Norm Lewis with graduate students.

Regents Professor Norm Lewis with graduate students.

WSU Wins Silver in North American Intercollegiate Dairy Challenge

Students from Washington State University won a Silver award in the Seventh Annual North American Intercollegiate Dairy Challenge (NAIDC) held April 4-5, 2008 at the University of Wisconsin-Madison, with 31 teams from the United States and one team from Canada competing.

The WSU team consisted of Geoff Campbell, Jordan Cambra, Oscar Sanchez, and Wade McMahan. John Swain coached the team.

NAIDC is an innovative two-day competition for students representing dairy science programs at North American universities. It enables students to apply theory and learning to a real-world dairy, while working as part of a four-person team.

For more information about dairy science at WSU, please visit:

Top: Front row (L to R): Wade McMahan, Jordan Cambra. Back row (L to R): Coach John Swain, Geoff Campbell, Oscar Sanchez.

Top: front row (L to R): Wade McMahan, Jordan Cambra. Back row (L to R): Coach John Swain, Geoff Campbell, Oscar Sanchez.

WSU Animal Sciences Alumni Honored

Three prominent alumni of Washington State University’s department of animal sciences were honored Friday, April 11.

Gordon W. Davis received the Distinguished Service Award, Richard Meyer was presented with the Outstanding Alumnus Award, and Ron Randel was honored with the Distinguished Graduate in Science, Education, and Technology Award.

Davis, a 1969 graduate of WSU, decided to become a teacher at the age of 15. At WSU, Davis was an active member of meat judging teams. Davis went on to coach two national championship teams in 1973 and 1989. In 1984, he founded CEV Multimedia, which soon became the world’s largest career and technical education company. Davis has given over $3 million dollars in endowments to Texas Tech University; his generosity has funded more than 200 animal science students with scholarships. “It’s all about the kids,” said the veteran educator.

Meyer, a 1968 graduate of WSU, is one of the founders of the WSU Friends of Animal Sciences alumni group. After earning his Ph.D. in food science from Cornell University, Meyer worked for numerous food companies and holds 65 patents. He is an active prion researcher, working with the National Cattlemen’s Beef Association and the National Institutes of Health.

Randel earned his B.S. degree from WSU in 1965 and is professor of reproductive physiology of beef cattle at Texas A&M University. He has conducted research on reproductive efficiency, endocrine control of reproduction and the nutrition-reproduction interaction in cattle while mentoring nearly 60 graduate students.

“These scientists have made important contributions to animal science and education. They’ve helped insure a safe and abundant food supply for people all over the world and have made positive impacts on the lives of young people through their teaching and outreach efforts,” said Margaret Benson, chair of the department of animal sciences. “We’re very proud to be able to honor these distinguished alumni.”

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Meyer (top), Davis and Randel were honored by WSU's Department of Animal Sciences.

Meyer (top), Davis and Randel were honored by WSU’s Department of Animal Sciences.