David R. Hawkins | 2013

Updated: Mar 25

Legendary Michigan State University educator recognized for commitment to the beef industry.

Born 1941 | Artist: Richard Steward Halstead (born 1947)

Impact & Accomplishments

Dr. David R. Hawkins is the 366th inductee into the Saddle & Sirloin Club Portrait Collection. Native Ohioan David Hawkins earned his bachelor’s degree in animal science from Ohio State University in 1963 and remained at the school to obtain his master of science degree in animal breeding and genetics. He accepted a teaching assistantship at Michigan State University, where he completed a Ph.D. in ruminant nutrition in 1969. Dr. Hawkins joined the MSU faculty as assistant professor and head of the Upper Great Lakes Regional Beef Cattle Project, Marquette. In 1971, he moved to the East Lansing campus, rising to full professor and coordinator of undergraduate programs, with responsibility over course and curriculum development. As faculty coordinator of the Beef Cattle Teaching Center, Hawkins developed a world-recognized source of superior beef cattle. The Michigan Cattlemen’s Association recognized him as Seedstock Breeder of the Year in 2001. Hawkins coached the MSU Intercollegiate Livestock Judging Team for several years in the 1970s and continued to serve as mentor to subsequent judges in the program.

From 1996 to 2005, Dr. Hawkins was superintendent of the national judging contest at the North American International Livestock Exposition. In demand as a judge, he is the only person to have twice judged national Angus shows at the NAILE and the National Western Stock Show. The American Society of Animal Science has honored David Hawkins with Distinguished Teacher, Animal Industry Service, and Fellow in Teaching awards. In 2011, he was the recipient of the Distinguished Alumni Award from Ohio State, and the following year, OSU inducted him into the Animal Science Hall of Fame.

Did You Know?

His most significant contribution to the beef cattle industry lies within the students he has mentored and inspired over the years. Hawkins’ colleagues, friends and family say that he has always been truly interested in helping students succeed, and encouraging their interests in animal science and the beef business.

Hawkins says if he could be remembered by one thing it would be this: “A teacher who impacted students, provided mentorship, and had a love for the livestock industry and it’s people.”
“That’s all I can hope for,” Hawkins says.

Courtesy of Angus TV and the American Angus Association

Agricultural Connections

Learn more about Dr. Hawkins' impact.

“Dr.Hawkins has had a great impact on a lot of young people through his teaching experience and through the purebred livestock that he so handily developed at Michigan State,” says Bryce Schumann, American Angus Association® chief executive officer. “The reputation Michigan State University holds in the industry is really because of Dave Hawkins’ guiding hand.”

Photo 1: The First Century of Angus Cattle at Michigan State University (2010)

Photo 2: In 1982 David Cornell approached Dr David Hawkins of Michigan State University and asked if a scholarship award similar to the Illinois Scholarship could be made for the winning Herdsman at the National Heifer Show and Paraders Competition.

With this everything was set for the 1983 National Heifer Show and Paraders Competition, with the winner of the National Junior Herdsman’s title at the contest to receive the Michigan State University Scholarship. Pictured above: 2010 Michigan State University Scholarship winner Tom Wilding-Davies with Jim Conroy, Semex Genetics.

Photo 3: David and his wife Kathleen have led student study abroad programs to Ireland, Northern Ireland, Scotland and England.

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