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David R. Hawkins | 2013

Updated: Nov 18, 2020

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

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

Impact & Accomplishments

Native Ohioan David Hawkins earned his bachelor’s degree in animal science from The 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, rising to full professor and coordinator of undergraduate programs, with responsibility over course and curriculum development.

As faculty coordinator of the MSU Beef Cattle Teaching Center, Dr. Hawkins developed a world recognized source of superior Angus and Hereford genetics. In demand as a judge, Hawkins was invited to judge national beef cattle breed shows and give seminars in Australia, Brazil, Canada, Denmark, Europe, and 36 states of the U.S.A.

Hawkins coached the MSU Intercollegiate Livestock Judging Team for several years in the 1970s and continued to serve as mentor to subsequent judging coaches. From 1996 to 2005, Dr. Hawkins was superintendent of the national senior college judging contest at the North American International Livestock Exposition. He led several student study abroad tours to Ireland, Northern Ireland, Scotland, and England. Hawkins received the Chevalier award from the Australian Angus Society for his work with student exchange programs.

He received the Distinguished Alumni Award from Ohio State and was inducted into the OSU Animal Science Hall of Fame. The American Society of Animal Science honored Dr. David Hawkins with three national awards—Distinguished Teacher, Animal Industry Service, and Fellow.

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

“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 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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