An Oklahoma State University special seminar will feature world famous innovator, author, activist and autistic expert Temple Grandin.
Grandin, a professor of animal science at Colorado State University and a designer of livestock-handling facilities, will speak on Sept. 15 at 2 p.m. in the OSU Student Union Ballroom, at the university’s Stillwater campus. The seminar is free and open to the public.
“I really like talking to students to get them turned on to animal behavior and animal handling,” Grandin said. “I will be talking about animal welfare, animal auditing, animal measurement, animal behavior, cattle handling and how autism helps with animal behavior.”
OSU’s department of animal science is sponsoring the event.
Steve Damron, OSU professor of animal production, is pleased that the seminar will bring one of the most celebrated and influential scientists of this time to campus.
“Students, faculty, staff and ranchers will have the opportunity to interact with the person who initiated major paradigm shifts in both animal handling and the world’s view of autism and autistics,” Damron said. “What a priceless experience.
“We all know what we see when we look at animals; Temple Grandin taught us what animals see when they look back,” Damron said. “She taught us better methods of livestock handling and changed livestock production forever. She also changed our view of autism. Both expanded our humanness.”
In addition, Ron Kensinger, head of the department of animal science, will discuss a new OSU endowed chair to be housed in animal science and named in honor of Grandin. The seminar will kick off the campaign to raise money for the Temple Grandin Endowed Chair in Animal Behavior and Well-Being.
“Her life story has inspired many in terms of her ability to overcome obstacles,” Kensinger said. “Her career-long accomplishments are a perfect illustration of how fundamental research may one day lead to tremendous practical advances. We are privileged to have friends who recognize the value of naming an endowed chair in animal behavior and well-being in Dr. Grandin’s honor.”
Widely recognized as the most accomplished and well-known adult with autism in the world, Grandin was diagnosed with autism in 1950. Because of her family’s timely interaction of working with Grandin’s special needs, she credits this early intervention to her professional success later in life.
Grandin received her Bachelor of Arts degree at Franklin Pierce College, her Master of Science degree in animal science at Arizona State University and her doctoral degree in animal science from the University of Illinois.
She began her career working for Corral Industries in Phoenix designing equipment for its plants and then went on to start her own company, Grandin Livestock Handling Systems in 1975.
During the next two decades, she became an expert in animal handling in slaughterhouses and one of the most respected names in her field. She also has developed an objective scoring system for assessing handling of cattle and pigs at meat plants.
Grandin has appeared on television shows such as “20/20,” “48 Hours,” “CNN Larry King Live,” “PrimeTime Live,” “Today” and many more. She has been featured in People magazine, the New York Times, Forbes, U.S. News and World Report, Time magazine, the New York Times book review and Discover magazine.
This year, Time magazine named her one of the 100 most influential people, and last month, Grandin received a Lifetime Achievement Award from the National Cattlemen’s Beef Association.
Her life story also has been made into an HBO movie titled “Temple Grandin, starring Claire Danes,” which shows her life as a teenager and how she started her career. The movie has been nominated for 15 Emmy Awards.
Grandin said she is honored to get all the attention and publicity about her life and her accomplishments.
“It’s been a long ways since how the movie ended,” she said. “Back in the 70s, I never believed it would happen.”
However, Grandin has some advice for young people who are affected by autism.
“Develop your area of strengths,” Grandin said. “Find something you are good at that you can turn into a career.”
For more information about the Sept. 15 seminar, contact OSU’s Debra Danley by e-mail at [email protected] or by phone at 405-744-6070.
“The opportunity to bring Dr. Grandin to campus and share her work with the Oklahoma State University community is wonderful,” Kensinger said. “Grandin-designed animal handling facilities are known to reduce stress on animals, and are the benchmark for the livestock industries. She taught us important lessons in how we should interact with animals today.”