Dr. Peter J. Van Soest Memorial Award

Dr. Van Soest was one of the most influential animal scientists of his generation. He joined Cornell in 1968 and his pioneering work permanently changed the chemical and in vitro analysis of feeds and the understanding of herbivore nutrition. His novel and revolutionary methods of analysis created the standard for how researchers measure the nutritional value of feeds worldwide. He retired as a professor emeritus in 1995 and continued to publish papers and informally teach graduate students into his 90th year.

One of his other significant contributions was as a co-inventor of the Cornell Net Carbohydrate and Protein System, a cattle nutrition model currently used to formulate diets for over 70% of dairy cattle in North America and used in over forty other countries.

Van Soest’s numerous honors included awards from the American Dairy Science Association and the American Society of Animal Science, election as a fellow of the American Institute of Nutrition, and an honorary doctorate from the University of Milan in 1992.

“Peter’s ability to translate his methods and understanding of biological systems into a functional quantitative framework fully characterizes his ability to synthesize data and provide solutions which are still applicable today,” 

Dr. Mike Van Amburgh Ph.D. ’95, Professor of Animal Science and also a former student of Dr. Van Soest

Make A Gift

Gifts to the Animal Science Excellence Fund will be used to establish the Dr. Peter J. Van Soest Memorial Award which is awarded to a graduate student studying rumen function, ruminant metabolism, feed chemistry, or nutritional modeling.


Please make checks payable to Cornell University and note Animal Science Excellence Fund in memory of Peter Van Soest.  Mail payment to:

Cornell University
Box 37334
Boone, IA 50037-0334

Pledge, EFT, Gifts of Stock, Multi-year pledges


Christy Agnese
Director of Development, CALS
cagnese [at] cornell.edu

“As great as he was as a scientist, Peter Van Soest was also a consummate teacher and mentor – he loved to teach at every opportunity. Innumerable students benefitted from his knowledge and ability to explain complicated concepts in ways that made them easier to understand.”

David Mertens, Ph.D. ’73, president of Mertens Innovation Research LLC and a former graduate student and friend of Van Soest.