2022 Department of Animal Science Awards

Texas A&M University is built on six core values: excellence, integrity, leadership, loyalty, respect and selfless service. The Department of Animal Science is committed to developing these core values in current students who are training to become leaders in animal science and agriculture. In addition, the Department commends and honors its former students and friends who have led successful careers according to these same values.

In 2012, the Department of Animal Science introduced an External Awards Program to celebrate outstanding alumni and non-alumni who have brought excellence, integrity, leadership, loyalty, respect and selfless service to the field of animal science. The Outstanding Young Alumni and Outstanding Alumni Awards as well as the Animal Science Hall of Fame recognize alumni and non-alumni for their outstanding leadership and significant contributions to animal science.

Pedro Fontes, Ph.D.The Outstanding Young Alumni Award recognizes a graduate of the the Texas A&M College of Agriculture and Life Sciences Department of Animal Science who is 12 years or less post-graduation and who has, early in their career, attained prominence and has brought honor to the Department of Animal Science and the field of animal science. We are pleased to present this year’s outstanding young alumni award to Pedro Fontes, DVM, Ph.D.

Fontes is an Assistant Professor in beef cattle reproductive physiology at the University of Georgia’s Department of Animal and Dairy Science. He is originally from Brazil, where his family runs a commercial cow-calf operation in the Southeast part of the country. He obtained his Doctor of Veterinary Medicine degree from Sao Paulo State University. Upon completion of his DVM, Fontes earned his M.S. in Animal Science from the University of Florida. He then joined the Department of Animal Science at Texas A&M University where he completed his Ph.D. in Physiology of Reproduction.

Currently, Fontes’ research and Extension program focuses on improving cattle reproductive efficiency through the improvement of assisted reproductive technologies and development of reproductive management strategies that maximize profitability in beef production systems. His leadership in applied beef cattle reproduction have resulted in invitations to speak at numerous two book chapters, 45 peer-reviewed abstracts, and 35 extension and popular publications. Moreover, his program has secured more than $850,000 in funding.

Don SchiefelbeinThe Outstanding Alumni Award recognizes a graduate of the Department of Animal Science who has built a distinguished career and made an impact that brings honor to the Department of Animal Science and the field of animal science. This year’s Outstanding Alumni Award is presented to Don Schiefelbein.

Schiefelbein was raised on a large farming and seedstock operation in Minnesota. He is owner/partner and president of Schiefelbein Farms, a large diversified farming operation in Kimball, Minnesota. He works alongside his father, seven brothers, and five nephews.

He served as Executive Director of the American Gelbvieh Association from 1998-2002 and as the Director of Commercial Marketing from 1995-1998. Don was also part of the North American Limousin Foundation as Director of Breed Programs and as the Marketing and Membership Service Specialist, and for a time served as Meats Assistant and Ultrasound Technician for Texas Agricultural Extension Service. Schiefelbein has been a featured speaker at numerous industry meetings across the U.S., Canada, Brazil, and South Africa.

Schiefelbein was also a member of the 1988 Reserve National Champion Collegiate Livestock Judging Team and the 1987 National Champion Collegiate Meats Judging Team at Texas A&M University. Throughout his career, he has proudly served on numerous industry boards, councils, and committees.

Schiefelbein and his wife Jennifer have been married for 32 years and have three daughters.

Gary C. Smith, Ph.D.

The Animal Science Hall of Fame Award celebrates outstanding individuals who, through their exceptional work and achievements, have advanced the field of animal science and made a profound difference to the productivity and sustainability of animal agriculture. We are deeply honored to induct Gary C. Smith, Ph.D., into the Department of Animal Science Hall of Fame.

Smith was born and raised in Caddo County, Oklahoma. A pioneer in the field of meat science, he has been awarded Distinguished Alumni Awards by College of the Sequoias, California State University-Fresno, Washington State University and Texas A&M University.

While at Texas A&M University, Smith won the Outstanding Teaching Performance Award, the Honor Professor Award, the College of Agriculture Teaching Award, the University Distinguished Teaching Award and the Deputy Chancellor’s Award for Team Research.

Smith also served as the Texas A&M Meats Judging Coach in 1966, 1967, 1970, 1971, and 1972. In the fall of 2021, a generous gift established the Gary ’68 and Kay Smith Endowed Chair in Meat Science Excellence and the Gary ’68 and Kay Smith Meat Judging Team Excellence Endowment at Texas A&M University.

This award recognizes Smith for his many years of service at Texas A&M University as a researcher, mentor, and teacher in the Department of Animal Science. As a gifted scientist, exceptional teacher, and a servant leader, his legacy and contribution to humanity, academia, and the industry cannot be measured. We thank Smith for his commitment, dedication, and service to countless students and the beef industry in Texas and beyond.


For more information regarding news from the Department of Animal Science, College of Agriculture and Life Sciences, Texas A&M University, please email maggie.berger@ag.tamu.edu.

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