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UW Right Fit for New Animal Science Department Head

September 8, 2015
man standing outside in snowfall with cattle and silos in the background
Mike Day

 It didn’t take long for a department of people armed with ample expertise and opportunities for growth to change a 30-year Buckeye into a Cowboy.

Mike Day became head of the Department of Animal Science at the end of July, ending his career with Ohio State University (OSU) and beginning a new one at the University of Wyoming.

“My list was pretty short of where I wanted to go,” says Day, a professor and now former graduate program studies chair in the College of Food, Agricultural, and Environmental Sciences in Columbus. “Wyoming fit well with me.”

UW seemed just the right fit. He’s taught, he has domestic and international research projects, and he extended OSU resources to producers.

Associate Professor Warrie Means, who served as interim department head during the two-year search to fill the position, says department personnel were excited to have Day join.

“He’s an excellent researcher, has a very good track record in publications and has received national recognition,” Means says. “His interests are aligned with Wyoming. It’s excellent we were able to attract a high-quality candidate like Mike.”

Day has come to know some of the current and past faculty members in the department through professional associations and contacts.

“It’s a nice faculty group, a good faculty with varied interests and that is interested in becoming stronger,” he says. “I got the feeling people here wanted to grow and improve. I think we’re at a pretty good place now, but we have a high ceiling for growth. We can always get better.”

The position opens a gate to move Day to the other side of the fence -- from the nuts and bolts of building a program to leadership.

“As an administrator, your job is to make a program better and make other people better,” he says. “That’s what’s interesting to me about this position. Not so much that I look good, but that I’m able to help build this program.”

Day grew up on a Missouri farm, raising cattle and swine. His father was a professor in the animal science department at the University of Missouri, specializing in swine. Day received his bachelor’s degree in animal husbandry at Missouri and earned his master’s and Ph.D. in cattle reproduction from the University of Nebraska. He then joined OSU in 1985.

Although Day’s father specialized in swine and the son in beef cattle, they share a distinction no one else can claim. They are the only father and son to receive the Animal Physiology and Endocrinology Award from the American Society of Animal Science. Day’s father received the award in 1982 and Day in July.

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