Jerry Taylor, Curators Professor of Genetics and Animal Sciences, and Wurdack Chair in Animal Genomics, and Morris Burger, CAFNR alumnus, are two of the 12 recipients of the 2014 MU Faculty-Alumni Awards.
These awards began in 1968, and they recognize both faculty and alumni achievements. Taylor and several other faculty members were selected based on their work as teachers, researchers and administrators. Burger, along with other Mizzou alumni, were nominated based on their accomplishments in their professional lives and service to their alma mater.
“[I was] very surprised! It is such an honor to be recognized by the alumni. I am so glad that I am a part of the MU family,” Taylor said.
Taylor is an elected Fellow of the American Association for the Advancement of Science, and was the recipient of the 2014 President’s Faculty Award for Sustained Career Excellence from the University of Missouri System, as well as the 2008 Celebration of Excellence Distinguished Research Award in the College of Agriculture, Food and Natural Resources.
The general focus of Taylor’s research is to identify the mutations responsible for variation in economically important traits such as growth, meat quality, feed efficiency, milk production and fertility in domestic cattle and to develop strategies for the cattle industries to test and utilize this information in breeding and management programs. Taylor helps develop and utilizes cutting-edge technologies with microarrays to benefit the beef and dairy industries.
He has received $40 million in competitive research funding, and has mentored more than 50 postdoctoral fellows, master’s and Ph.D. students. He and his graduate students also have authored 199 peer reviewed research articles and five book chapters, as well as edited a book. Taylor holds six patents.
Taylor received a Bachelor of Science degree in Mathematics and a Bachelor of Science with Honors degree in Mathematical Statistics from the University of Adelaide. He received his Ph.D. in Quantitative Genetics from the University of New England in Australia.
Burger received a Bachelor of Science in Agriculture form the University of Missouri in 1957, and he is currently the Chairman of Burger’s Smokehouse in California, Mo.
Under his leadership, Burger’s Ozark Country Cured Hams Inc. has dramatically grown in sales. The company has gone from $70,000 in sales in 1959, to more than $50 million in sales today. According to the Mizzou Alumni Association, “The company mails three million catalogs annually, packs under private label to other mail-order companies such as Omaha Steaks and to national restaurant chains including Bob Evans, Waffle House and Cracker Barrel.”
Along with his business accomplishments, he is also writing his biography, “The Trail of MFB.” All three of his children are also graduates of MU. In 2013 his children and grandchildren had a bench dedicated to Burger and his wife, which sits outside of the Agriculture Building. Burger has been a dedicated volunteer for the College of Agriculture, Food and Natural Resources for many years. At the time of the dedication his daughter Sara said, “Education has always been important to my parents. For my dad, it seemed like the experiences he had at the University of Missouri really shaped his life forever.”