Animal science society honors emeritus for teaching

By Seth Truscott, College of Agricultural, Human & Natural Resource Sciences

John-McNamaraPULLMAN, Wash. – John McNamara, emeritus professor of animal sciences at Washington State University, recently received national recognition for more than 30 years of training future animal scientists. He was named an American Society of Animal Science (ASAS) fellow in the teaching category.

“It’s a very nice recognition after a 43 year career,” said McNamara, who has worked at WSU since 1983 and retired this year. He is among a small group of scientists awarded fellow status by both the American Dairy Sciences Association and the ASAS.

He was one of the first recipients of excellence in research and advising awards from the WSU College of Agricultural, Human and Natural Resource Sciences and was an early member of the WSU Teaching Academy.

John McNamara

As an emeritus, he continues to train teachers in agriculture, pets and the food supply and is a board member of the Washington Science Teachers Association. He continues to publish articles about dairy biology and works on “electronic cows” – mathematical dairy cattle models.

As a teacher, McNamara said he aims to inspire students to obtain basic technical knowledge and become scientifically literate learners. He seeks to help students learn to balance facts, emotions and the political, social and economic issues surrounding people and animals.

Jane Parker, a nationally recognized advising professional who retired in 2012 following 36 years at WSU, helped McNamara become a caring and effective student advisor, he said. Last spring, he was the inaugural recipient of the Jane Parker Award for Service to the WSU Advising Community presented by the WSU Academic Advising Association.

He thanked his early mentors at the University of Illinois, faculty members Dale Bauman, Carl Davis and Jimmy Clark: “Not only did they teach me to be a scientist, but also a faculty member,” he said.

During the 1980s, Jim Carlson, a former WSU department chair and associate dean, encouraged and helped McNamara and other young professors do their best for society and industry. Another WSU mentor, Joe Hillers, “taught me to take students as they were and help them achieve their potential,” McNamara said.