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The Student News Site of Colorado State University

The Rocky Mountain Collegian

The Student News Site of Colorado State University

The Rocky Mountain Collegian

Temple Grandin receives CSU’s 2023 Founders Day Medal

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Collegian | Reuel Indurkar

Temple Grandin, a prominent author and professor at Colorado State University, speaks on the importance of research for the next generation of agricultural scientists Sept. 6, 2022. Grandin said, “I’ve really enjoyed doing research. It’s something I get a lot of enjoyment from. I teach a class in livestock handling, and one of the things that I really emphasize to students is observation. Observe what your animals are doing.”

Piper Russell, News Director

Mary Temple Grandin, a professor of animal sciences, added Colorado State University’s 2023 Founders Day Medal to her long list of accomplishments and honors. 

CSU started the Founders Day Medal tradition in 2010 on CSU’s birthday, Feb. 11. According to CSU Source, “The medal recognizes an individual, family or group whose service and contributions have created a significant, lasting impact on the university’s history and progress toward future goals.”

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“I want to help these kids that think differently get out there and get into good careers and do something constructive. I think that’s really important. … We need the skills of the people who think differently.” -Temple Grandin, CSU animal science professor

As well as a professor at CSU, Grandin is a renowned academic, animal behaviorist and autism advocate. Grandin has received international recognition for her work in humane livestock handling and advocacy for “nontraditional learners and thinkers,” according to CSU Source.

“I’m just really honored that they would give that to me,” Grandin said when asked what receiving the medal means to her. “I was really pleasantly surprised when I was called about it.”

Corley Rogers, a research graduate student and teaching assistant at CSU, wrote about Grandin’s worldwide impact in both animal science and autism. Grandin is Rogers’ advisor.

Dr. Grandin’s work has changed the animal agriculture industry for the better,” Rogers said. “Today animals receive the highest level of welfare in every stage of the production process. Her advances in animal handling and welfare are likely due to her unique way of thinking. Instead of keeping her outlook a secret, she has preached the importance of diversity of people and mindsets.”

In addition to the Founders Day Medal, Grandin has received many other awards and recognitions. These include the Temple Grandin Equine Center, a CSU initiative for research and education in equine-assisted services. There are two locations, one at CSU in Fort Collins and the other at CSU Spur in Denver.

Dr. Temple Grandin speaks at the 2020 TEDxCSU event on the topic of “Educating different kinds of minds” in the Lory Student Center Theatre March 7, 2020. With the event organized around ideas of momentum, Grandin said, “When you’re weird, you’ve got to show what you can do. …We need all different kinds of minds. Visual thinkers can see problems. … There is too much emphasis on the deficit and not enough emphasis on building up their careers.” (Collegian File Photo)

CSU also honored Grandin with a sculpture inside the JBS Global Food Innovation Center on campus and is working on a documentary, “An Open Door,” directed by John Barnhardt.

In addition to the other work she does, Grandin continues to inspire and mentor students by giving them individual attention and pushing them to pursue their aspirations. 

“The one thing I gotta do now at the age that I’m at is inspire younger students to get into good careers, get out there and have good lives,” Grandin said. “As people ask me now — I’m in my seventies now — ‘What do you plan to do?’ I just got back from doing talks at Iowa State University and Michigan State University on animal behavior, and I like inspiring students. I’m still going to keep teaching my class … because I want to inspire students to go out and make a positive difference.”

Rogers wrote about how Grandin always makes time for her undergraduate and graduate students and always encourages them to follow what they are passionate about. 

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“I want to help these kids that think differently get out there and get into good careers and do something constructive,” Grandin said. “I think that’s really important. … We need the skills of the people who think differently.”

Rogers went on to explain how Grandin has inspired her and impacted her undergraduate and graduate academic experiences. 

“I have been a fan of Dr. Grandin since I was first exposed to her in my high school agriculture classes,” Rogers said. “Throughout my undergraduate studies, I followed her publications and watched many of her talks online. Many people would tell you to never meet your role model because they could never live up to your expectations. However, this is not my experience with Dr. Grandin. Dr. Grandin has been an inspiration for me, for women, people with autism and innovators.”

Grandin will receive the Founders Day Medal in March at a private ceremony.

Reach Piper Russell at news@collegian.com or on Twitter @PiperRussell10.

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Piper Russell, News Editor

Piper Russell is one of The Collegian’s news editors this year and is thrilled to be working in the role. She started as a news reporter her sophomore...

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