April 21, 2008
AMES, Iowa - A symposium celebrating the legacy of Jay Lush will be April 25 in Ames. Lush is considered the father of modern animal breeding. He was a prolific researcher and graduate educator during his career as a professor of animal science at Iowa State University from 1930 to 1966. In the early 1900s, animal breeding was regarded as more art than science. Lush changed that. He advocated breeding not based on subjective appearance of the animal, but on quantitative statistics and genetic information. The Lush Visions Symposium will begin with a Thursday evening reception where former Lush students will share their memories. The scientific portion of the symposium will be held Friday beginning at 8:30 a.m. in the Ensminger Room, Kildee Hall. Speakers will continue the focus on Lush's legacy while providing updates on how today's efforts in animal breeding and genetics build on that legacy. Posters outlining current research will be in the Kildee Hall atrium. Lush mentored 279 graduate and doctoral students. Jack Dekkers, animal science professor and departmental section leader for Animal Breeding and Genetics, said a "Lush Pedigree" will be presented as part of the symposium. "We have developed a Website that allows people with doctorate degrees in animal breeding and genetics from across the globe to enter and update information on themselves, plus their academic 'ancestors,' 'siblings' and 'progeny.' This information allows us to draw academic pedigrees for individuals involved in animal breeding. Many have roots that trace back to Lush and Iowa State," Dekkers said. "It's another way to document the importance of Lush and Iowa State in the academic ancestry of animal breeders around the globe." At 3:30 p.m. Friday, Gregory Geoffroy, Iowa State University president, and Wendy Wintersteen, dean of Iowa State's College of Agriculture and Life Sciences, will present Dorian Garrick with a special medallion as the first Jay Lush Endowed Chair in Animal Breeding and Genetics. Garrick joined the Iowa State University faculty in August 2007 after five years as professor of animal breeding and genetics at Colorado State University. Garrick earned a bachelor's degree at Massey University in New Zealand in 1982 and a doctorate at Cornell University in 1988. He returned to Massey University the same year and began work as a teacher and researcher. In 1994, Garrick was named to the A.L. Rae Chair at Massey University. Rae, also a New Zealand native, became interested in animal breeding while studying and teaching at Massey. He earned a doctorate at Iowa State in 1950, where he was a graduate student under Lush. Tom and Jean Sutherland, Fort Collins, Colo., took the lead in establishing the Lush Endowed Chair with a $1 million commitment through the Iowa State University Foundation. Lush was Tom Sutherland's major professor during graduate school. Sutherland graduated in animal science with a master's in 1956 and doctorate in 1958 in animal breeding. Other former students, friends and family of Lush also have contributed to the endowment.