• SSPF

Phineas Stephens Shearer | 1953

Winning livestock judging competitor and coach, Shearer created a long lasting legacy at Iowa State University that is still thriving today.

1889-1978 | Artist: Oskar Gross (1871-1963)



Impact & Accomplishments


Iowa-born Phineas S. Shearer was a member of the Iowa State College Collegiate Livestock Judging Team that placed first at the 1910 American Royal in Kansas.


After completing his bachelor’s degree, he taught for one year at the University of Nebraska, and then returned to Iowa State. In 1914, Shearer founded the student-run stock show known as the “Little International” (the “Little North American” today)—a competition that is still popular on campus. Shearer coached the college’s judging team from 1919 to 1934, a period during which Iowa State placed first at the International Live Stock Exposition three times. His 1931 team was the first to win top honors at both the International and the Royal.


While teaching, Shearer earned his master’s degree. From 1935 to 1954, he served as head of the animal husbandry department.


Phineas Shearer was president of the American Society of Animal Production in 1950 and was a fellow of that organization in 1957. In 1974, he was added to the Iowa State Block & Bridle Hall of Fame.


Did You Know?


As an undergraduate at Iowa State, Shearer was active in many student organizations, including Theta Delta Chi, the Philomathean Literary Society, Livestock Judging Teams, the student newspaper (Iowa State Student), the student yearbook (the Bomb), and was elected Junior Class Vice-President.


As head of the Iowa State University animal husbandry department 1935-1954, research programs emphasized meat production, genetic improvement of livestock and swine and sheep feeding.


2019 was the 100th version of the "Little North American" at ISU started by Phineas Shearer.

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