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Department of Animal Sciences


Hawkins Inducted into Animal Science Hall of Fame

July 23, 2012

Dr. David R. Hawkins was inducted May 17 into the Animal Science Hall of Fame. Hawkins grew up on a general livestock farm in Clark Country, Ohio. During his undergraduate career, he worked at the OSU Beef Barn and served as Vice President of the Saddle & Sirloin Club. As a member of the 1961 OSU Meats Judging Team, he placed second overall in the National Senior College Contest. As a member of the 1962 Livestock Judging Team, he placed second overall in the National Senior College Contest. He also placed second in the National Block & Bridle Club Outstanding Senor competition. After earning a Bachelor of Science degree in animal science and graduating Summa Cum Laude in 1963, he remained at Ohio State and earned a Master of Science degree in 1965 in animal breeding and genetics. He served as the assistant coach of the 1963 Ohio State University livestock judging team. Hawkins completed a PhD in ruminant nutrition at Michigan State University in 1969. He joined the MSU faculty and was in charge of the Upper Great Lakes Regional Beef Cattle Project, Marquette, Michigan. In 1971, he accepted a teaching/research position on the East Lansing campus and was subsequently promoted to associate professor and professor. Hawkins taught the meat animal evaluation courses and coached the MSU Intercollegiate Livestock Judging Team from 1971 through 1977. From 1977 to 2007, he served as faculty mentor to several MSU Livestock Judging Team coaches. From 1996 to 2005, he was the superintendent of the Intercollegiate Senior College Judging Contest at the North American Livestock Exposition. He also served as the National Block & Bridle Club President, Vice-President and Secretary Treasurer during the 1980s. Hawkins was faculty coordinator of the Beef Cattle Teaching Center and under his leadership developed it into a world recognized source of superior beef cattle. From 1973 through 2009, MSU exhibited or co-exhibited over 60 Grand or Reserve Grand Champions at the National beef cattle shows in Canada and the United States. MSU has leased bulls to major A.I. organizations and exported cattle, semen, or embryos to every continent except Antarctica. A strong proponent of performance testing, he was instrumental in establishing the Michigan Bull Test Station. The Michigan Cattlemen’s Association recognized his service as coordinator of the MCA Bull Test Program in 1990 and as MCA Seedstock Breeder of the Year in 2001. He has been invited to judge most of the major beef cattle breed shows in the United States plus national shows in Australia, Canada, and Denmark. Hawkins has served on the board of directors for the Michigan Angus Association and the Michigan Hereford Association, including terms as president of each. He was a founding member of the Michigan Beef Expo, Michigan Purebred Beef Breed Council, and the Michigan Bull Test Committee. In 2007, he received the Chevalier Award from the Australian Angus Society and the Catalyst award from the Michigan Horse Council. Hawkins served as coordinator of the animal science undergraduate programs for 21 years, with major responsibility for course and curriculum development. He personally taught nine different courses involving over 7,000 students and has been advisor for over 1850 undergraduates. He served as major professor for 14 graduate students and served on committees of 36 other graduate students. He is author or co-author of 42 papers and abstracts in refereed journals, 81 papers in experiment station reports, 11 extension publications, and 80 articles in other publications. In 1999, Hawkins received the American Society of Animal Science (ASAS) Distinguished Teacher Award. In 2006, he received the ASAS Animal Industry Service Award and was the recipient of the ASAS Fellow Award in Teaching. Hawkins is a recipient of five prestigious awards from MSU’s College of Agriculture and National Resources: Distinguished Teaching Award, Distinguished Service Award, Outstanding Academic Advisor, and Distinguished Faculty Award. In 2005, he was selected as the first recipient of the Howard and Lilli Ann Camden Endowed Creativity, Teacher, Scholar Award at MSU. Beside his many duties as a faculty member, Hawkins and his wife, Kathleen, did and still maintain an Angus herd. Kathleen is also a graduate of The Ohio State University. Together they have led student study abroad programs to Ireland, Northern Ireland, Scotland and England. She has also accompanied him on visits to beef cattle farms in Australia, Brazil, Canada, New Zealand and Europe. Currently, she is the Executive Director of the Michigan Beef Industry Commission and the Executive Vice President of the Michigan Cattlemen’s Association. David and Kathleen are the parents of two daughters, Lisa Hawkins Moser and Jennifer Hawkins. Lisa and her husband, Dr. Dan Moser, are faculty members at Kansas State University. After completing medical school and her residency, Jennifer joined Sparrow Lansing Ob/Gyn Associates. She also is on the teaching faculty at Michigan State University’s College of Human Medicine. View photos at: