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McDonald's lead contributor to Dr. Temple Grandin scholarship in animal behavior and welfare

October 10, 2011
Coleman Cornelius

During a celebration of world-renowned animal scientist and autism advocate Temple Grandin on Oct. 4, Colorado State University announced the endowment of a scholarship fund to support the professor's graduate students.

At A Celebration of Dr. Temple Grandin, the professor wore a Western shirt in CSU colors, which she helped design. Additional shirts will be for sale at the CSU Bookstore; proceeds will benefit Grandin's teaching and research.McDonald's Corp. contributed $100,000 to the Dr. Temple Grandin Scholarship in Animal Behavior and Welfare.

"Dr. Grandin has brought a sea change to how animals are looked upon in our industry. It’s awesome," said Bob Langert, vice president for corporate social responsibility at McDonald's and a speaker at last week’s event. "She’s put animal welfare on the map at a much higher level."

Celebration draws 400 people

During A Celebration of Dr. Temple Grandin, Langert told a capacity crowd of 400 people that McDonald's requires Grandin’s humane handling practices be used by all of its suppliers around the world.

"Can you imagine one person, by herself, having that kind of impact?" Langert asked.

Other contributors to the new scholarship fund are: Colorado Beef Council, Colorado Cattlemen's Association, Colorado Dairy Farmers, Colorado Livestock Association, JBS, Leprino Foods, and the National Western Stock Show.       

Scholarship will continue work on humane handling practices 

"This fund will help Dr. Grandin continue her remarkable work teaching our students and conducting critical research into livestock behavior and humane handling practices for farm animals," said Craig Beyrouty, dean of CSU's College of Agricultural Sciences. "We greatly appreciate the gifts from McDonald's and other contributors, which demonstrate the revolutionary influence Dr. Grandin has had in animal welfare and our global food system."

Remarkable year

The announcement came during A Celebration of Temple Grandin at the Lory Student Center Ballroom. The campus event, which attracted students, faculty, staff, and invited guests, hailed Grandin’s work after a remarkable year.

In 2010, HBO released a biographical feature film called "Temple Grandin" based on the CSU professor's early life; the movie won seven Emmy Awards, a Golden Globe and a Peabody Award. Also last year, Grandin earned a spot on TIME magazine’s list of "100 Most Influential People in the World."

Grandin, who has autism, is an eminent animal scientist who specializes in livestock behavior and has pioneered the field of farm-animal welfare. Her innovations in humane handling equipment and auditing systems have changed the livestock industry, both improving producer profitability and assuring consumers about the integrity of the food system.

The CSU professor attributes her insights to her autistic ability to think visually, or to "think in pictures."

Impact on students

"Temple’s gift of thinking in pictures is exceeded only by her ability to articulate the significance of what she sees as it relates to animal welfare," Ruth Woiwode, a doctoral student and Grandin"s graduate research assistant, told the crowd last week. "Temple feels a responsibility to improve the conditions of animals in agriculture. It's her commitment to this principle that has driven her career and her success."

"It is my honor," Woiwode continued, "to study under the mentorship of the individual I consider to be the world's most compassionate, committed, and articulate advocate from animals in agriculture."                 

More than 20 years of work at CSU

Grandin has built her stellar career over more than two decades at CSU. She began work in CSU's Department of Animal Sciences in 1990.

The professor travels internationally to speak about autism and farm-animal welfare, but she is always back on campus to teach her classes in livestock behavior and humane handling.

How you can help

Beyrouty said that by aiding Grandin's graduate students, the new scholarship fund will help support Grandin's applied research and will help ensure that she continues to teach a new generation of animal scientists about foundational concepts in animal behavior and welfare.

To contribute to Grandin's teaching and research at CSU, visit


Contact: Coleman Cornelius
Phone: (970) 491-2392