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November 10, 2011
By Coleman Cornelius
Temple Grandin, world-renowned animal scientist at Colorado State University, was named among the 2012 inductees to the Colorado Women's Hall of Fame for her trailblazing work in livestock welfare and autism advocacy.
“I’m really pleased, and very honored,” Grandin said of the announcement.
She and nine others will be honored during the Colorado Women’s Hall of Fame 2012 Induction Gala on March 8 at the Denver Marriott City Center.
Grandin, who has autism, has been a faculty member in CSU’s College of Agricultural Sciences for 22 years. During that time, she has earned international acclaim as a pioneer in farm-animal welfare and as a champion for people with autism and their families.
Grandin impressed the Colorado Women’s Hall of Fame selection committee as a woman who has overcome many obstacles, both in her historically male-dominated career field and as someone who has struggled with autism, said Lindy Conter, committee chairwoman.
“Despite all the adversity she’s overcome, Dr. Grandin is dedicated to helping other people as a professor at CSU and as an advocate for people with autism. She has also very steadily helped change her field to raise awareness about animal welfare. That’s truly amazing,” Conter said.
As a child, Grandin developed a unique bond with animals. Her insights into animal behavior have led Grandin to develop humane livestock-handling and auditing systems that are used on ranches, in feedlots, and in meat-packing plants worldwide. Grandin is not a vegetarian, but fervently believes food animals should be treated with respect.
“At CSU, we join in applauding Dr. Grandin’s contributions to our world. She has helped open minds and open doors for other people,” said Craig Beyrouty, dean of the College of Agricultural Sciences. “Temple has improved our food system by promoting livestock welfare and enhancing consumer confidence. All the while, she has been an incredible role model for people in the autism community, and for all of us.”
Her influence on the global food system led McDonald’s Corp. to endow a scholarship fund supporting Grandin’s graduate students. The scholarship, announced at a campus celebration in Grandin’s honor, supports the professor’s research and education efforts.
“Dr. Grandin is teaching a new generation of students a very different way to think about and treat livestock. Her teaching has a fantastic multiplier effect as her students enter the working world,” Beyrouty said. “Like the Colorado Women’s Hall of Fame, we truly value Dr. Grandin’s impact as a teacher.”
Grandin’s early life and career are the focus of an award-winning HBO movie released in 2010. Also last year, Grandin earned a spot on TIME magazine’s list of “100 Most Influential People in the World.”
The Colorado Women’s Hall of Fame, established in 1985, recognizes the accomplishments of past and present Colorado women. The nonprofit educates Coloradans about the stories of women who have shaped state and national history with courage, leadership, intelligence, compassion and creativity. Their talents, skills, struggles and contributions form a legacy that the Colorado Women’s Hall of Fame is dedicated to protecting.
Nominations to the Colorado Women's Hall of Fame are accepted from individuals and organizations throughout the state. A diverse group of nine Colorado citizens forms the selection committee that chooses those inducted.
Grandin, a member of the CSU Department of Animal Sciences faculty for 22 years, is among the university’s most famous professors in the eyes of the general public. Her talks and appearances are featured in media outlets virtually every day. The campus celebration that honored her in early October is one of many Grandin highlights in recent months.
Grandin received the 2011 American Meat Science Association Special Recognition Award at the 64th annual Reciprocal Meat Conference in June.
She received the 2011 Image and Inclusion Award from The Arc, the nation’s largest community-based organization for people with intellectual and developmental disabilities and their families. Grandin also was keynote speaker at The Arc’s national convention in Denver in September.
Grandin received the American Humane Association’s National Humanitarian Medal at a gala in Fort Worth, Texas, in October.
Her book, “Thinking in Pictures: My Life with Autism,” was the 2011 selection for “One Book, One Broomfield,” a community reading program. Grandin spoke in Broomfield in early November as part of the program.
An interview with Grandin aired on the CBS News episode of “60 Minutes” on Oct. 23. Correspondent Lesley Stahl’s extensive interview with Grandin is available as a “60 Minutes Overtime” feature at on the CBS website.
Grandin was part of an ABC “Extreme Makeover: Home Edition” team whose house project was featured in an episode that aired Oct. 28. The team designed a new home for an Oregon family with two autistic children. To view the episode click here.
The Utah Film Center on Nov. 3 honored Grandin with the Peek Award for Disability in Media, which recognizes film work that has positively shaped perceptions of people with disabilities.
The cable television channel Animal Planet plans a show featuring Grandin at 8 p.m. Dec. 12. Check listings at at the Animal Planet website.