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By Daniella Garcia-Loos '25
  • Animal Science
  • Agriculture
  • Animals
Here at Cornell CALS Department of Animal Science, we’re advancing our understanding of animal biology and addressing the animal industries' most pressing problems... but we didn’t get here overnight. Let’s take a closer look at the history that helped shape the Department of Animal Science!

1. The Department of Animal Science was originally Animal Husbandry.

From 1903 to 1966, the department was known as the Department of Animal Husbandry. The name changed to Animal Science when the departmental research, teaching, and extension expanded beyond just husbandry.

2. The Cornell Net Carbohydrate and Protein System (CNCPS) was founded here.

Current faculty, Mike Van Amburgh, and Tom Overton, along with Emeritus Professors, Danny G. Fox, Larry Chase, Peter Van Soest, Charlie Sniffen, Jim Russell and others contributed to the creation of the CNCPS model in 1992, which helps formulate diets for over 70 percent of dairy cattle in North America.

3. Our home wasn’t always Frank B. Morrison Hall. 

The first headquarters of the department was in the basement of Morrill Hall. In 1915, a designated building for animal husbandry named Wing Hall was created.  The place where the department is housed today, Frank B. Morrison Hall, was built in 1961 in honor of the past chairman.

4. Students used to be able to take courses on tropical animals and plants.

Classes on international animal science such as Agriculture in Tropical Americas, Tropical Livestock Production, and Tropical Forages used to be offered.

5. There used to be a Department of Poultry Science.

In 1907, a new department split from the Department of Animal Husbandry, becoming the Department of Poultry Science, led by Professor Henry Hiram Wing. It was the first poultry science department in the country. The department was eventually disbanded in 1990 and many faculty members joined the Department of Animal Science

6. Extension has always been and will continue to be an important part of the department.

Director of the College of Agriculture Liberty Hyde Bailey in 1912 declared that extension work was an important part of the department and eventually assigned Professor Herbert A. Hopper as the first extension specialist in animal husbandry. In this position, he traveled to district and county fairs, presented educational exhibits, and gave lectures all over the state to different farmers. Similar to the work some extension specialists do today!

7. Women’s inclusion in animal science began earlier than most other peer institutions.

There are various records of women attending courses and taking part in activities in animal science in the early 1900s. Some even showed up at the livestock pavilion in roller skates!

The Animal Science department encompasses a large breadth of animals and interests that impact the Cornell community, New York state and beyond.

Did you learn something new and exciting about the department?


Daniella Garcia-Loos Almeida ’25 is a physics major in the College of Arts and Sciences and a student writer for Cornell CALS Department of Animal Science.

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