• SSPF

Henry Perly Rusk | 1946

University of Illinois dean, esteemed judge and advisor to President Herbert Hoover.

1884-1954 | Artist: Othmar J. Hoffler (1893-1954)



Impact & Accomplishments


After earning his bachelor’s degree at Valparaiso University and his master’s degree at the University of Missouri, Henry Perly Rusk accepted a position to teach and supervise cattle feeding research at Missouri in 1908.


Two years later, he joined the faculty of the University of Illinois, where he organized the annual Illinois Cattle Feeders Day. Rusk was named head of animal husbandry in 1922 and dean of the college of agriculture in 1939, serving until his retirement in 1952.


He was in demand as a cattle judge, officiating at the American Royal and the International. Rusk was president of the American Society of Animal Production from 1925 to 1926 and served in leadership roles for the Farm Foundation, the National Research Council, and the Illinois State Fair.


Henry Rusk considered his work as advisor to President Herbert Hoover to be the high point of his career. Rusk was chairman of the Commission on Government Reorganization’s agriculture task force, and he also helped rework federal lending policies.


Did You Know?


"Dean Rusk will be remembered as one of the strong men of the University of Illinois—even stronger than his old briar pipe, which he puffed much of the time. He has pulled on his boots and tramped over much of the farm land in every part of Illinois and can call hundreds of real dirt farmers by their first names, and he wields a quiet influence in many other places, to the benefit of the state and the university." Remarks made by A. W. Weaver, then president of the American Society of Animal Science, during Rusk's Saddle and Sirloin Club induction ceremony.


Rusk was one of the seven founders of Farm House fraternity and later served as its national president.

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