Reflections: Billy Day

Dr. Day, professor emeritus, shares Animal Sciences Research Center history

Responding to the need to advance animal research, Dean Elmer Kiehl, in 1961, appointed a committee to plan a new research facility. Professor Bill Pfander chaired the committee with members Boyd O’Dell, Harold Johnson, George Garner, Billy Day, Milt Shanklein and Jim Savage. Professor Pfander provided strong leadership to the committee and was instrumental in securing $300,000 in funding from the NIH. This funding was matched by funding from the Missouri legislature.

Construction began in 1968 and Unit A, the original 12 research laboratories, was completed in 1971. Billy Day was the first faculty member to move into the building. Faculty from the Departments of Agricultural Chemistry, Agricultural Engineering, Dairy Science and Poultry Science soon followed.

Additional funding was obtained from Moormans, Inc., and the state to complete Unit B for laboratory animal research in 1982, and Units C, housing environmental chambers, and D for large animals, in 1983. Also in 1983, Unit E, which includes classroom, six additional research labs, and offices for Extension, teaching and administration, was completed. The building was dedicated on September 9, 1983. Another addition was made to the building in 1989, which housed the whole-body counter and metabolism facilities.

Not long after the building was dedicated, the Animal, Dairy and Poultry Science Departments merged into the Animal Sciences Unit, now the Division of Animal Sciences. The ASRC is now home to more than 30 faculty and 40 staff members, as well as 50 graduate students and more than 400 undergraduates. It also houses approximately 5,000 laboratory animals and 300 pigs used by researchers from across the campus.

Researchers in the ASRC are national leaders in research productivity and focus on reproductive biology, nutrition, genetics and genomics, and meat science.