More than 1,700 Texas A&M University students are scheduled to receive degrees during two graduation exercises Friday (Aug. 15) at Reed Arena following a commencement convocation address Thursday by Dr. Temple Grandin, a widely acclaimed author, autism activist and animal scientist.
The first of the two graduation ceremonies is set for 9 a.m., with the second scheduled for 2 p.m. A list of the university’s academic colleges to be included in each ceremony can be viewed at the graduation website. Commissioning ceremonies for approximately 30 members of the Corps of Cadets will be held as part of the afternoon program.
The convocation — to be held in Rudder Theatre at 5:30 p. m. Thursday — and the graduation and commissioning ceremonies are open to the public.
The Association of Former Students will again conduct its Next Tradition program in conjunction with the commencement ceremonies. It will offer summer graduates the opportunity Thursday afternoon, beginning at 1 p.m., to drive through an area adjacent to its headquarters, the Clayton Williams, Jr. Alumni Center on the south side of the campus, and have association decals placed on their car windows. It will conduct open house all day Friday to welcome the new graduates.
Grandin, a professor at Colorado State University, will be presented an honorary doctoral degree during the university’s graduation ceremonies the following day in recognition of her lifetime accomplishments.
Her life and successes have been featured by numerous national and international media outlets, and HBO produced a 2011 movie about her that won several major honors, including seven Emmy awards, a Golden Globe and a Peabody Award. In addition to numerous honors for her animal science work and promoting better understanding of autism, she has been elected into the Cowgirl Hall of Fame.
In her professorial capacity, Grandin is widely known and respected for her work in the design of facilities for handling livestock. Half the cattle in the U.S. and Canada are said to be handled in equipment she has designed for meat plants. Other professional activities include developing animal welfare guidelines for the meat industry and consulting with McDonalds, Wendy’s International, Burger King, and other companies regarding animal welfare.
She earned her undergraduate degree at Franklin Pierce College in 1970, master’s degree at Arizona State University in 1975 and Ph.D. in 1989 at the University of Illinois.
Following up on her Ph.D. research on the effect of environmental enrichment on the behavior of pigs, Grandin has published several hundred industry publications, book chapters and technical papers on animal handling, plus 63 refereed journal articles in addition to 10 books. One of her books, “Animals in Translation,” was a New York Times best seller and another, “Livestock Handling and Transport,” now has a fourth edition published earlier this year. Other popular books that she authored are “Thinking in Pictures,” “Emergence: Labeled Autistic,” “Animals Make us Human,” “Improving Animal Welfare: A Practical Approach,” “The Way I See It” and “The Autistic Brain.”
Her numerous honors include the Meritorious Achievement Award from the Livestock Conservation Institute, being named a Distinguished Alumni at Franklin Pierce College and receiving honorary doctorates from McGill University, University of Illinois and Duke University. She has also won prestigious industry awards, including the Richard L. Knowlton Award from Meat Marketing and Technology Magazine, the Industry Advancement Award from the American Meat Institute and the Beef Top 40 industry leaders and the Lifetime Achievement Award from The National Cattlemen’s Beef Association. Her work has also been recognized by humane groups from which she received several awards.
Grandin, who is a former member of the board of directors of the Autism Society of America, frequently presents lectures to parents and teachers throughout the U.S. about her experiences with autism. Articles and interviews have appeared in The New York Times, People, Time, National Public Radio, 20/20, The View and the BBC. She was also honored by Time in the 2010 issue featuring “The 100 Most Influential People in the World.” In 2012, she was inducted into the Colorado Women’s Hall of Fame.
Earlier in her career, Grandin served as livestock editor for the Arizona Farmer Ranchman and subsequently worked for Corral Industries, where she started designing livestock equipment.
Media contact: Lane Stephenson, News & Information Services, at (979) 845-4662