Evolution of the School of Animal Sciences
The School of Animal Sciences is the culmination of the work of the poultry, dairy, livestock, and animal sciences and husbandries since the inception of the university. Each of the departments that have come together to form the school have long been recognized as leaders in delivering high quality and balanced teaching, research, and Extension programs for their students, the livestock and poultry industries, and the professions that they serve.
Preston and Olin Institute opened in Blacksburg, Virginia as a Methodist academy for boys.
Abraham Lincoln signed the Morrill Land-Grant Act.
The academy was reorganized into the Virginia Agricultural and Mechanical College under the Morrill Land-Grant Act.
Courses pertaining to both animal husbandry and dairying were offered from the very beginning.
VAMC was renamed the Virginia Agricultural and Mechanical College and Polytechnic Institute.
The first mention of poultry in the archives. E.P. Niles, DVM, staff veterinarian at the Virginia Agricultural Experiment Station "began to breed chickens on a small scale simply for pastime and recreation after office hours." He penned an article discussing points on breeding, husbandry, nutrtion, behavior, product taste, and artifical incubation. Read the full article here.
The Department of Animal Husbandry (1904) and the Department of Dairying (1906) were two of the first departments established.
The two departments were combined in 1909 to form the Department of Dairy and Animal Husbandry.
Foundation of the poultry extension youth programs: Boys' and Girls' Poultry Clubs. Clubs were established in 30 Virginia counties with 2110 children enrolled.
Up until this point, poultry had been primarily an Extension endeavor. For the first time, poultry was listed as part of two courses:
- Animal Husbandry 291 - Breeds and Types of Farm Animals
- Animal Husbandry 293 - Stock Judging
The poultry B.S. degree program was initiated. The first graduate was David B. Alexander in 1942.
"The first poultry buildings were constructed to house birds and provide for instruction in poultry husbandry."
The Department of Poultry Husbandry was established as a stand-alone entity.
The Department of Dairy and Animal Husbandry split into the Animal Husbandry Department and the Department of Dairy Husbandry. During the next 40 years, strong teaching and Extension programs were established in the areas of animal, dairy, and poultry production.
In the 1950's and early 1960's, the departments developed strong research programs in genetics, physiology, and nutrition and appropriately changed their names to better reflect those research efforts.
The Department of Dairy Science
The Department of Animal Science
The Department of Poultry Science
Over the next 30 years, the three departments conducted balanced teaching, research, and Extension programs that gained national and international stature.
A new science approach was initiated with Poulty 4-H groups. "The Egg-Citing Egg" and the "Incubation and Embryo" projects were introducted to high school science teachers and county extension staff as an excellent way to stimulate the science education of youth. As a result, the decline in enrollments from the 1960's and early 1970's was stemmed and poultry 4-H youth enrollment dramatically increased:
- 1977: 7,897;
- 1978: 9,616;
- 1979: 16,170;
- 1980: 18,438;
- 1982: ~27,000;
- 1983: ~26,000;
- 1985: ~28,000;
- 1987: >28,000;
- 1988: >36,742;
- 1990: 33,130*;
- 1991: ~33,130*; and
- 1992: 21,959*
The Department of Animal Science and the Department of Poultry Science merged into the Department of Animal and Poultry Sciences. The Department of Animal and Poultry Sciences went on to become one of the largest, most productive, and best respected academic programs at Virginia Tech.
The Department of Dairy Science established itself as a leader in dairy teaching, research and Extension. Small, but mighty--and very well-respected--the department helped lead the industry while maintaining one of the best teaching and advising programs on campus along with an active, supported, and enormously engaged Extension contingent. Dairy Science graduates boasted 99.99% job placement upon graduation and overwhelmingly rated their learning experience 3.85 out of 4.0.
Animal and Poultry Sciences
named University Exemplary Department
The School of Animal Sciences is created from the Department of Animal and Poultry Sciences and the Department of Dairy Science. Read more about it below.