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Ron Butler honored for career accomplishment

Dean Boor shaking hands with Rob Butler

During his more than 40 years as a researcher at Cornell, Ron Butler has worked tirelessly to enhance the reproductive efficiency in dairy cattle with the goal of increasing the profitability and sustainability of the dairy industry. 

Those achievements were recognized Oct. 30 when Butler, professor in the Department of Animal Science, received the Career Accomplishment Award from Dean Kathryn J. Boor '80 at a ceremony celebrating research, extension and staff excellence.

Butler began his career at Cornell in 1975. Among his many scholarly accomplishments, Butler and his research group pioneered the understanding of relationships between energy balance and fertility in the early postpartum dairy cow. This work ranged from the more fundamental aspects of ovarian development and regulation of the estrous cycle to more applied work evaluating nutritional and other interventions to improve metabolic status and reproductive success. Butler's research program is well-recognized on the national and international stage for providing the basis for understanding in this area.

Butler has made sustained scholarly contributions to his department, the college and the university. These accomplishments have spanned basic and applied research, classroom teaching and outreach, and have earned him a national and international reputation in the area of reproductive biology. Moreover, his discoveries have shaped current research in reproductive biology, established concepts and scientific facts that are taught in reproductive biology courses and influenced the extension recommendations to dairy producers in New York state and across the globe.

In addition to serving for multiple terms as chair of the Department of Animal Science, he is a longtime member and chair of the Cornell University Institutional Animal Care and Use Committee, he has served as a member of the Cornell University Faculty Senate, and served on numerous other committees at the department, college and university levels. As chair, Butler was involved in the planning, design and building of the new research dairy facility, working with the department to define a strategic plan and presiding over the hiring of several new faculty members.

Butler took on another critical leadership position with the Cornell University Institutional Animal Care and Use Committee, serving as chair from 2002-07. Butler's leadership brought about an era of renewed collegiality and collaboration between the IACUC and faculty investigators.

Moreover, Butler has served as a mentor to students at every level, from those seeking undergraduate research exposure to doctoral candidates and postdoctoral associates. His attention to detail is often devoted to his students, from suggesting coursework to planning and executing projects to writing and rewriting, effectively molding critical thinking and writing skills in his students. Many of these students continue to correspond with him and seek advice on scientific questions, career progress and even personal matters years after formally leaving Cornell. Butler strives to keep his course offerings current, vital and relevant. His impact has also been recognized by the CALS Alumni Association, which gave him the Outstanding Faculty Award in 1997.

"A sustained excellence and impact in so many areas contribute to the legacy of Ron’s illustrious career and make him undeniably deserving of the CALS Career Accomplishment Award today," Boor said at the event.

► Meet all of our 2017 Research, Extension and Staff Award winners