MANHATTAN — Kansas State University’s College of Veterinary Medicine granted an honorary degree to Temple Grandin, world-renowned autism spokesperson and livestock industry expert on animal behavior.
Hodes Family Dean Bonnie Rush presented an honorary Doctor of Veterinary Medicine degree to Grandin at the college’s commencement ceremony Friday, May 12. Grandin also served as the college’s commencement speaker.
“Dr. Grandin has had a profound impact on the veterinary profession including our very own livestock facilities in the Veterinary Health Center,” said Bonnie Rush, Hodes family dean. “She is the world’s foremost leader in food animal welfare and handling, and she has made significant contributions to the welfare of many other species. She has had a tremendous positive influence on animal welfare practices within the livestock industry.”
The presentation of the honorary degree was approved by the Kansas Board of Regents this spring. K-State President Richard Linton conferred the degree during commencement exercises for the DVM class of 2023.
Rush said that Grandin has received many honorary Ph.D. degrees, but this is the first time she has been presented with an honorary DVM degree.
“I’m really honored and at this stage of my life right now — I’m way past retirement age, so the thing I want to do is inspire the next generation to go out and change things,” Grandin said. “I couldn’t go to veterinary school when I was a student. I can’t do higher math, so I couldn’t complete the prerequisites for trained veterinarians. I passed standard veterinary physiology and endocrinology courses, but I worry that some of the requirements, such as advanced algebra, may screen out some of the best veterinarians in the future.
“I feel I’ve had impact in my career by helping promote fear-free methods at veterinary clinics and other animal-handling situations. I always like to figure out simple, straightforward things that people can do, so we need all the different kinds of minds and skills to solve problems.”
Grandin, who is a professor of animal science at Colorado State University, delivered a Landon Lecture at K-State in 2016 on the importance of reducing fear for animals, particularly in cattle. She presented the lecture during the annual symposium of the American Pre-Veterinary Medical Association hosted by the K-State College of Veterinary Medicine in 2022.
In addition to a successful teaching career, Grandin is a world-renowned livestock equipment designer and animal welfare advocate. In 2010, Grandin was among Time Magazine’s 100 most influential people in the hero category. She is one of the authors of “Emergence: Labeled Autistic” and the author of “Thinking in Pictures: My Life with Autism,” which inspired the 2010 HBO film, “Temple Grandin,” starring Claire Danes.
She is also the author of several books advocating for animal welfare — including the New York Times best-seller “Animals in Translation” — and gives many talks about animal welfare and the autistic brain, such as her TED talk, “The world needs all kinds of minds.”
Grandin received her Bachelor of Arts degree in psychology from Franklin Pierce College in 1970, a Master of Science in animal science from Arizona State University in 1975 and a doctorate in animal science from the University of Illinois in 1989.