Dairy Nutritionist Named to New Endowed Professorship

April 16th, 2010

AMES, Iowa — A researcher who specializes in dairy nutritional physiology will fill a newly endowed professorship in Iowa State University's animal science department.

Lance Baumgard was recognized April 15 at a medallion ceremony as the first holder of the Norman L. Jacobson Endowed Professorship in Dairy Science. During the ceremony, ISU President Gregory Geoffroy gave Baumgard a medallion that symbolizes the importance and prestige of endowed positions in supporting top scholars and educators. Donors of the endowed position also were recognized.

"Dr. Jacobson is a legend in dairy metabolism and I'm incredibly honored to be named to this position," Baumgard said.

Jacobson was a dairy nutrition physiologist at Iowa State for more than 45 years. He earned both master's and doctorate degrees at Iowa State and joined the faculty in 1946. He was named a Charles F. Curtiss Distinguished Professor in 1963 and retired in 1992.

The Jacobson Endowed Professorship was established in 2005. Gifts and commitments of more than $500,000 from about 35 of Jacobson's friends, colleagues and former students made the professorship possible.

"Iowa State obviously is committed to dairy science and the industry, as evidenced by this endowment, as well as the construction of the new dairy farm and hiring new dairy scientists and veterinarians," Baumgard said. "This is a great opportunity for me."

Baumgard researches the mechanisms involved with determining how nutrients are utilized. "The largest contributor to increased animal productivity during the last 100 years has been nutrient partitioning, and Dr. Jacobson was one of the global leaders in this area," he said. "The Jacobson professorship gives me flexibility to research questions that may not have been funded by traditional means."

How heat stress reduces productivity and jeopardizes animal health is another research area for Baumgard. "Summer heat stress costs Iowa livestock producers $75 million annually. If we are going to develop strategies to reduce this economic burden, we have to have an appreciation for the biology and mechanisms by which it occurs," he said.

In addition to his research, Baumgard will teach both undergraduate and graduate level courses and participate in seminars for dairy producers and allied industries.

Baumgard was a member of the University of Arizona animal science faculty for eight years before joining Iowa State as an associate professor in May 2009. A native of Minnesota, he earned bachelor's and master's degrees at the University of Minnesota and a doctorate at Cornell University.

This professorship was established as part of Campaign Iowa State: With Pride and Purpose, the university's $800 million fundraising effort. More than $760 million in gifts and future commitments for facilities and student, faculty and programmatic support have been made to Campaign Iowa State.

Contacts: 

Lance Baumgard, Animal Science, (515) 294-3615, baumgard@iastate.edu

Susan Thompson, Agriculture and Life Sciences Communications Service, (515) 294-0705, sander@iastate.edu

(A photo of Lance Baumgard is available on request from Susan Thompson.)