Texas A&M animal science presents alumni awards, introduces hall of fame

Contact: Courtney Coufal, 979-845-1542, cacoufal@tamu.edu

COLLEGE STATION – The Texas A&M University department of animal science recognized three former students with alumni awards and introduced the Animal Science Hall of Fame at an awards banquet recently at the AgriLife Center College Station.

Rachel Cutrer was presented the department of animal science’s Outstanding Young Alumni Award. Dr. Gary C. Smith and Frank C. Litterst, Jr., each received the department of animal science’s Outstanding Alumni Award. E.M. “Manny” Rosenthal (posthumous), Paul Engler and Dr. Zerle L. Carpenter were inducted into the department of animal science Hall of Fame.

“Many individuals in animal science and the animal agriculture community have played a significant role in the progress our field has seen over the past 50 years,” said Dr. Russell Cross, professor and department head. “We felt it was time for the department of animal science to celebrate our former students’ successes as well as others in the field who have become true pioneers in animal agriculture.”

The Outstanding Young Alumni Award recognizes a graduate of the department within the past 12 years who has, early in their career, attained prominence in the field of animal science and brought honor to the department.

Cutrer is president and creative director of Ranch House Designs, a full-service web and graphic design agency located in Wharton, as well as a seventh-generation cattle rancher and Brahman breeder. Under Cutrer’s leadership, Ranch House Designs has grown into a worldwide leader in livestock advertising, with more than 3,000 clients in North America, South America, Asia and Australia. In 2012, Cutrer published her first book, “Livestock Merchandising,” which is currently sold in four countries and used as a college textbook in the U.S. and Canada. The company has been the recipient of the Aggie 100 Award for five consecutive years.

A 2001 graduate of animal science, Cutrer also earned a master’s degree in communication from Michigan State University in 2003.

The Outstanding Alumni Award recognizes a graduate of the department who has built a distinguished career in animal science and brought honor to the department.

Smith is a university distinguished professor emeritus at the department of Animal Science at Colorado State University where he occupied the Monfort Endowed Chair in Meat Science from 1990 until his retirement in 2010. Previously he served as professor from 1969-1982 and head of the department of animal science from 1982-1990 at Texas A&M and remains an adjunct member of the graduate faculty. The award recognizes Smith as an accomplished researcher, a gifted teacher and legendary mentor to students, professors and technical specialists throughout the meat industry. His research interests include carcass evaluation and grading; composition, quality and palatability of red meat; red meat safety; and packaging and retailing of red meat. He has traveled the world extensively in support of animal agriculture and has received numerous awards including induction into the Meat Industry Hall of Fame in 2009.

Smith earned a bachelor’s degree in general agriculture/agricultural education from California State University – Fresno; a master’s in statistical animal breeding from Washington State University; and a doctorate in meat science and muscle biology from Texas A&M University.

Litterst earned a bachelor’s degree in animal husbandry in 1943, and after graduation he worked in feed sales and operated a successful cattle business. In 1965, he started working for the department as a beef cattle specialist and traveled 350,000 miles and helped more than 12,000 ranchers improve their herds through his beef cattle short courses. In 1975, he became a lecturer in the department and over the course of 14 years taught more than 8,000 Aggies.

Litterst remains an avid supporter of the department by providing generous scholarships. He is the recipient of the Association of Former Students Distinguished Achievement Award for Extension in 1975 and for Teaching in 1984, and received its highest honor, the Distinguished Alumnus Award, in 2009.

The Animal Science Hall of Fame was created to celebrate outstanding individuals who through their exceptional work and achievements advanced the field of animal science and made a profound difference in the productivity of animal agriculture.

Rosenthal, a 1942 Texas A&M graduate, was chairman emeritus of the board at Standard Meat Company in Fort Worth and namesake of the Rosenthal Meat Science and Technology Center at Texas A&M. According to his award nomination, many of the current business models in the meat industry can trace their history to the influence of Rosenthal’s models developed throughout his career including the philosophy of “selling, then cutting” rather than “cutting, then selling.”

A proud Aggie and philanthropist, he and his wife, Roz, donated the first endowed chair in the department of animal science, which was the first chair in the U.S. designed to support research and education in meat science. They later established the Manny and Roz Rosenthal Endowed Fund to further support teaching, research and outreach by animal science educators and students.

Rosenthal was posthumously inducted into the Meat Industry Hall of Fame in 2011 and in 2012 he was posthumously awarded Texas A&M AgriLife’s highest honor, the Distinguished Texan in Agriculture Award.

Engler, a 1944 agriculture graduate of the University of Nebraska, founded Hereford Feedyards in 1955 and Cactus Feeders in Amarillo in 1975, and he now serves as chairman emeritus of what’s become the largest privately owned fed-cattle producer in the U.S. According to his award nomination, Engler is a pioneer of the Texas cattle-feeding industry because his leadership, vision and foresight are largely responsible for shaping the Texas industry. He also is recognized for developing the formula price method of fed cattle sales in 1987, which provides incentives to feeders to consistently produce beef that meets consumer’s health and quality demands.

Engler is a strong supporter of research and educational programs in agribusiness and has been inducted into the Cattle Feeders Hall of Fame and the Meat Industry Hall of Fame.

Carpenter is a respected professor and leader in animal science, meat science and Extension administration. His 35-year career with the Texas A&M University System started as an assistant professor in the department of animal science in 1962. He rose through the ranks and in 1978 was named head of the department. In 1982, he was named director of the Texas Agricultural Extension Service – now Texas A&M AgriLife Extension Service – and in 1988 he was named associate vice chancellor for agriculture. Carpenter gained national attention for innovative leadership when he launched issue-based Extension programming in Texas, which became a model for redirecting Extension programming efforts in other states and at a national level. As a meat scientist, Carpenter has authored more than 600 articles, papers, abstracts and other professional publications.

In recognition of his valuable contributions, the Department of Animal Science established the Dr. Zerle L. Carpenter Award in Meat Science, an award given to a graduate student who demonstrates leadership skills and has made significant contributions to meat science teaching, research and Extension.

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