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Dale Weber Oral History Interview, August 23, 2019

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CHRIS PETERSEN: OK, today is August 23rd, 2019. We're in the library with Dale Weber, who is emeritus Professor of Animal Sciences, long history at OSU. And I'm very excited to talk to him about that history. But we'll begin at the beginning and I'll ask you: where were you born?

DALE WEBER: I was born in Janesville, Illinois.

CP: And is that where you were raised?

DW: Yes.

CP: Can you tell me about your family background?

DW: Sure. I don't know how far back you want to go, but we're German descent. I had grandparents and great-grandparents that actually emigrated from Germany and homesteaded in Illinois on the farm. And that's where my father, of course, grew up too. And that kind of German heritage we had-in those days, different nationalities settled in different kinda areas-they kinda grouped together. So 00:01:00ours is largely a German area. I know my dad said he didn't speak English till he went to school because they spoke-the neighbors and their church and everything-was in German at that time. Anyway, so I was born there on the farm-actually in the hospital-but lived on the farm there. And I grew up in the farm. My mother died when I was six, which so that I was basically raised by my dad. So that's kinda my early background.

CP: Did you have siblings?

DW: I have had a half-sister and a sister. My sister is three years older and she is still living in Illinois.

CP: So your father remarried at some point.

DW: I was a child. It was a second marriage actually. My dad actually was almost 50 when I was born, I think. Because his first wife died, I think, in childbirth 00:02:00actually. And then he never married again until his daughter got married. So I actually have had a nephew that's older than I am. [laughs] So if you want to count it that way.[laughs]

CP: Was German culture something that was important in the household? Or-

DW: No, it's kind of interesting because my dad had never tried to teach us German. And I've been sorry later because now, recent years, I've been studying German here at OSU. And I've been to Germany a number of times over the years. And we still have relatives there which we can maybe talk about later. But we never talk German-I knew my dad knew German. And occasionally I'd hear him speak to some other person a few German words. But I really never heard him speak very much but in-we have a young distant cousin live with us on the farm in 1964 for 00:03:00six months. And when he came, my dad spoke to him in German. And I'd never heard him speak like that to somebody so it kinda surprised me.

CP: Well, tell me about farm life for a kid growing up.

DW: Well, it was a good life. We were poor but we didn't know it. In those days, everybody around was poor-that was Depression time. But we were fortunate. My dad apparently had enough equity in the farm. We never lost a farm or anything like that. Seeing pictures of your childhood, it was a pretty simple life. Our life centered around the church and the school. They were right together. So that your social life was pretty small. The nearest town was ten miles away. We got to town maybe once a week-that was a big deal. And I went to this one room 00:04:00country grade school for seven years I think. And I was the only one in my grade most of the time. So I always said I never knew if I was smart or not because I didn't really have any competition. [laughs] So yeah typical, I guess, farm life-raise all kinds of animals, had pigs and cows. And I particularly liked the pigs-played with the pigs, enjoyed them. And like a lot of kids in the Midwest or around the country, grew up with 4-H, showed steers at the fair and that kind of thing.

CP: And you included? Did you have a connection with 4-H or extension?

DW: Yeah, well I showed steers and I participated in 4-H through, well, high school I guess. And then you know what FFA [Future Farmers of America] is-that's it. Ag student-I was in that in high school.


CP: So this connection with livestock is very early for you.

DW: Yes. I remember I used to make all the pigs pets basically. And then of course, I still remember, when the truck came to load them, I'd cry, and feel bad. But you know, we were raised that way and I think from an early age, it was kind of accepted that that's a way of life-animals were there for food. I mean you felt bad when they left, but you kinda accepted it. And then I did the usual things on the farms, you know, kids do. And in our early age, we did chores and had to feed the animals, and bring in the firewood to the house and that kinda thing.


CP: What other interests did you have as a boy besides farm work?

DW: I never was very athletic actually. I've always enjoyed sports but I never myself was very athletic. Here again, you play in the country school. You played all the games and things like that. I wasn't very musical either. I remember I took accordion lessons one summer. That didn't last very long.[laughs] And so that was about it as far as that kind of thing.

CP: So a lot of chores then, probably.

DW: Right. Those days, quite an early age, we learned to, well, do the farm work-I'm trying to think of some things we used to do. Used to the threshing crews and I'd be the water boy-take the water around to the workers who were helping with the threshing and that kind of thing. But like I said, our social 00:07:00life was pretty much centered around the church or the country school.

CP: Was this a wheat farm also?

DW: No, we had corn and oats, and hay in those days, when I grew up. That was almost before the day it was soybeans or a big crop-they hadn't really come in yet as an oil crop. I remember, growing up, they had soybeans but they would grow them for forage or hay, rather than the oil or the seed, protein like they do now.

CP: Was school important to you?

DW: Yes, I guess so. I would always have to tell people - I'd have to take that back - I didn't really like school when I was really young. In fact, part of it I think, I remember my second grade teacher, I was intimidated by her. And I 00:08:00remember running away from school one day and ran down the road. And I remember my dad came and got me, took me back of course. Probably in those days, I was seen as a child psychotic. [laughs] But of course I went back to school but I remembered. I have to laugh now because after all these years I've been in education-now they can't get me out of the classroom hardly-but when I was in second grade, I didn't really like school. But otherwise I did pretty well in school.

CP: So by the time you were in high school, things had changed, your point of view changed a little bit?

DW: Oh yes, I liked school in high school. I was very active in high school.

CP: How so?

DW: I was in FFA-president of FFA. I was, I think, junior class president. I was student-body president. I was a drum major in the band. I was the-like I said, I 00:09:00was never very athletic but I always liked sports-the team manager, for a couple years. You know, hand out the towels and that kind of thing. So I was always involved in sports in that way. And I was in plays and all that kinda thing. And I was selected by the faculty to be outstanding senior boy when I graduated. I still got their trophy that I got, after 72 years I think.

CP: So was college something that had been your sights for a while?

DW: No.

CP: How did that come about?

DW: Well I don't know. I guess I didn't really intend to go to college. I was always gonna be a farmer. And I guess didn't really think college education was necessary, or even desirable I guess. And of course, my dad actually went through fourth grade. My mother went through high school, and she was a school 00:10:00teacher. You know back to those days-back to 100 years ago-women could become teachers, or men too I guess, just out of high school. They'd attend a summer school-summer session-and they could teach. And so my mother was a school teacher. And my half-sister was a school teacher. So education has been in my family that way. I can't remember-I guess I graduated and well, "now what am I gonna do?" You know, except farm. Other people are going off to college. Of course, you know, in those days-this is, again 70 years ago-not a lot of people went to college. Like, now it's just almost assumed you are going to go to college. Then, maybe, I think there was a class of 70 or 75 that in my high school graduating class. I bet not maybe 15 went on to college after it-it'd be 00:11:00in that neighborhood somewhere. But I remember I had a high school English teacher who kinda sat me down and said "Well Dale, what are you gonna do?" And you know, I hadn't really thought about it. In fact, I was the editor of the school newspaper also [laughs] and she was the advisor-that's how I got to know her. Miss Hannah, a wonderful lady, and graduated University of Michigan at about 1902, I think, or something like that. And I don't know if you're familiar with the Greeks but she was a Kappa. And I, first I never heard of sororities but she was a Kappa at University of Michigan at about 1900 or something like that. But anyway, she kinda sat me down that way and made me think a little bit.

And then, I had an aunt and uncle who were my mother's sister and I'm very close to them. And they said, "well, what're you gonna do?" And you know, well, I hadn't really thought about it too much. And then I got to thinking about it. 00:12:00Then I got thinking about where I want to go to school. And I stayed home in that fall and as it was planned-so then my first college experience was I went to Iowa State in the winter and they were on the quarter system at that time, just like we are here now. They were on the quarter system then. And so I thought, "Well, maybe I'll try college once this winter quarter." Cuz that doesn't interfere with the farm work. And so that's what I did-I enrolled at Iowa State. And thinking about how simple the process was to get into school, I remember filling out an application and going to register for classes in early December before-I think class there, again, start in early January. So there's there for the ten weeks. So then I did just go the ten weeks. And I really enjoyed it. But then I went home and farmed again the spring. Then I went back-then I decided to go back in the fall. So I went back fall and winter the 00:13:00next year, then dropped out again in the spring.

CP: Interesting. I wonder how common that was back then.

DW: Well, I don't know, probably not too common. But I got the case for college and I, "yeah, I like this. This is kind of interesting." I remember the classes I took. Took horticulture and crop science and things like that, that I really kinda enjoyed. I still remember my first college class. Can you remember your first college class?

CP: I can.

DW: Well then after I went that next fall and winter-but then I got more involved in campus. And that really got involved. But then I pledged for fraternity, winter term of that second year. And so that kinda hooked me to come 00:14:00back to school. So then that fall-then my sophomore year, I went full time from then on till I graduated.

CP: And what did your dad think about that?

DW: Well, I think he was sorta for it. My dad was always very pleased with any accomplishments I had, but I think he always had it in mind that I would go back to the farm someday, be a farmer. But I remember he would come out at the university a couple times to football games and things. We lived about 200, or would have been 220 miles from Ames, where I grew up in Illinois. And I think why I went there rather than to University of Illinois, is because of that timing of the winter term. Well I had a pull to Iowa cuz my mother was from 00:15:00Iowa. And so I knew Ames, I knew I was stated, and I had known other people who have gone there. And so in those days, it was easier to get to Ames than it was to Illinois because sometimes we'd take the train from Illinois over to Iowa. And whereas when drag route from where we lived out in Champaign in Illinois.

CP: So sounds like the draw of college was really that invigorating environment, being exposed to new things? Is that fair to say?

DW: I think so. I enjoyed it. I got really involved in my fraternity. I was in Acacia, if you remember Acacia. And they're here. So I was in some positions there. I was the house manager, I think, and the social chairman. We had terms for them but basically that's what it was. And so then I made a lot of friends 00:16:00that way and we had a group. And then I got involved in my departmental club. And what else did I do-I was in a couple plays-I tried everything. I probably should have studied more but I was one of the people- try a bit of everything. Then my senior year, I actually was on the cheer squad and people can't hardly believe now, but I can show you a picture. But in those days, cheering was a lot different then, we didn't do a lot of stunting, you know, like they do now. It was more leading cheers actually. We did cartwheels and things around the field but we didn't have to be big and brawny and hold the girls like they do now. [laughs] But it was still one of my most memorable experiences being a cheerleader. Cuz you know, you get some notoriety on campus, people know you, and instructors pick you out in classes, stuff like that. So, like I said, if 00:17:00you have a little ego, that helps feed that. [laughs] That wasn't why I did it, but it was fun.

CP: So you majored in farm operation.

DW: Yes.

CP: And you have lived farm operation your entire life before then. Do you remember there being pieces of the curriculum that grabbed you that you thought to yourself "I'm really glad I'm studying this. This is something new I could bring back to the farm"?

DW: I think when we were studying different classes, yeah you think about what I had done on the farm, or what we should be doing that we weren't doing, or you know, improvements. I remember things particularly in landscape architecture about how we could improve the farmstead and improve the cattle and the breeding programs and that kind of thing. I don't know what particularly grabbed me as far as a course, but like I said, I was more of a generalist than a specialist I 00:18:00guess. But anyway, yeah.

CP: So you graduated. And for me, a five year gap, of my understanding of what you did, but I have a feeling that you went back to the farm. Is that true?

DW: Yes

CP: For five years? From 1952 to 1957?

DW: Well, here again, I was off and on. After I left college, I really miss college. And I went home and I really wasn't happy. Because I was kind of alone, you know-out here in this rural community, most of your friends are gone or they're married, the girls are gone. And I didn't really have my social life. And so I really wasn't really very happy at the farm. And so I remember I thought about doing graduate work in different fields. And I did go back a couple winter terms, again, here on the winter terms, and studied. Then I 00:19:00decided to pursue Ag Education. And how that came about is that I remember when I was home on the farm, my old high school ag teacher was gonna be gone for a couple weeks for a meeting or something. He wondered if I would take over his classes-I mean, I really wasn't qualified. But I guess anybody could be a substitute teacher. And I remember doing that and I said, "I really kinda like this." You know, I related to the kids-in those days they were all boys in FFA or Ag. But I just didn't think too much about it.

Well then the following winter, I think there was a fella in the neighboring town that was out for a period of time, six weeks or a couple months-I don't remember. So I got to teach there. And I really liked that too. So that's when I got serious about going back and getting my credentials to teach. And so here I 00:20:00was farming also at the same time because they happened to be in the winter when it wasn't really a busy farm in the field and things. But then I went back to school at winter quarter again to get my teaching certificate. And I remember I did my student teaching and that, and I was qualified. Then I decided that I would see about teaching as an on-the-farm kind of a thing. And an interest - my dad was still active in the farm and that, at that time. So I got a job at a town in eastern-are you familiar with Iowa?

CP: Not really

DW: Well, it doesn't matter. But it's right on the Mississippi just about 30 miles from where I grew up. I was in Illinois but we were that close to Iowa. So I got a job at this high school in Iowa, kind of at the last minute actually. 00:21:00The teacher resigned, I think, just before school started. So I remember I went to the-I don't know how I even found out about the job at this point, but I got a call and "would you be interested in teaching"-so I went and interviewed, and decided to. And I remember I started after school been on a couple weeks already. And that was quite an experience. I really enjoyed that too. But it was only a one-year position because this was on the-I guess you'd call it a suburb of Davenport-but it was a developing area and there was less farm ground. And so they were gonna close that ag program and they did close it. I was the last teacher there that they had-they did close it. And then, there wasn't any other position there. So I never did go back and teach. I never taught anymore after that as far as high school is concerned.

But that's also where I met my wife. So she was a-I don't know if you want all 00:22:00that information too? [Laughs]

CP: Sure.

DW: Anyways-we called them home ec in those days-that the home ec teacher, we became very good friends. And I was the ag teacher. Of course we did things together. And she was married at the time too. But one of her best college friends, or whatever, sorority sisters came to visit. And so that happened to be - who is now my wife - came to visit her friend at this high school. So that's kinda how that went.

CP: Did it happen quickly?

DW: Well, no. I think I knew her for almost two years before we got married. But we didn't get serious for a while.

CP: So you had this one-year stint as a high school teacher, and then was it back to the farm at that point?

DW: Yes.

CP: And you continued to do that for a while, sounds like.

DW: I did. Well then in a year or so later, we got married and I guess we 00:23:00decided we're gonna farm. And so we did farm-my wife and I were there for eight years on the farm before I went back to graduate school.

CP: This was the farm that you grew up on?

DW: Yes.

CP: And you took over for your dad at that point?

DW: Yes. He was still living but he passed away while we were on the farm then. So yeah, that's happened there.

CP: You worked for a bank as well for a while too.

DW: I did, for a couple years. And here again, there's a lot of things go in here. The farm-we did not have a very big farm. And so we decided we either need to find some maybe off-farm employment to supplement the farm income, or do something different. And so - or enlarge the farm; at that time it wasn't really 00:24:00feasible to really increase the size of the farm just because the situation of the land and all that. And so I took this job, I guess you'd call it an ag representative, in the local bank. And that I knew the people that had been there. Actually one of the banks that we banked in-it was a competitor-competing bank I should say. [Laughs] But I was there for a little over two years. And I didn't really enjoy it that much. I think I would've enjoyed it but the situation that I was in-I think the person who was my immediate boss was kinda controlling and didn't want to give me much authority or anything. So I didn't feel like I was really making a lot of big decisions or not.


That's when we started thinking about going back to school. But I remember then, when I was kind of unhappy with the situation, I remember I went back to my old college dean or advisor at Iowa State as an undergraduate and visit and say "should I think about going back school" this kind of thing. Here I was, 37, 38 years old. I always remember he asked about my job at the bank and he said, "Well, are you making decisions?" And I said, "Well yes, when I wait on somebody, I decide if they want change, I give them two $20s or four $10s, kind of thing. And I really wasn't making big decisions, being bank teller you know-well there's nothing wrong with that. But that was not really satisfying to me. So then we decided that we would go back to school. And by that time, my dad 00:26:00had passed away. I always had a very difficult time leaving the farm when my dad was still alive because he always wanted me to be a farmer. You know, that was the culture that-son takes over from dad-kind of a thing. And so I think if he'd known I left the farm, he probably-I don't know if he'd have been happy or not. I hope he's been pleased with what I have done since. But at that time, it was a very difficult decision for me to make. So after he was gone, then it was a little easier to make that decision. And so then in the fall of 1967, I went back to college at Iowa State.

CP: What became of the farm?

DW: We still have it.

CP: Really?

DW: I still own it. Obviously I'm not there to manage it. But we have good managers and it's been rented out there to people for 50 years basically. It has 00:27:00its ups and downs you know, it doesn't always go smoothly when you're 2000 miles away and your renters aren't always honest and that kinda thing. But we have professional management-farm management service. Now that looks after the business part. And fortunately right now, we have a young couple on there who are very good. He's also an Iowa State graduate, both he and his wife. And they've been out here to visit us in Oregon a couple times actually. So it's going well. It's actually a century farm now-you know they had designated farms, century farms. And last summer, we got that paperwork done so we have a sign on that gate that this is a century farm. My dad bought the farm in about 1905, something like that. So it's only been two owners-my dad, and my wife and I.

CP: Wow, that must have been very satisfying.

DW: Well, it is. It was kinda nice to know that. And then my daughter-we only have one child, it's a daughter-she lives in California so she'll never be on 00:28:00the farm. But I think she'll always want to keep it because she lived there for six years of her life. So I think it'd stay in the family for quite a while.

CP: So this has been a parallel story-this entire time, managing that farm from afar.

DW: Yes, Yes.

CP: That's really interesting.

DW: Like I said, it has its ups and downs. [laughs]

CP: I'm sure.

DW: But like I said too then, when we decided to go back to college, here again that situation-either gonna have to find a meaningful off-farm employment or really intensify the farm or add more acres in. And here again, this is always in my-I enjoyed the teaching I had and I think my wife, she was a good farm wife but I don't think she's ever really "this is my life on farm". I think she was 00:29:00more of a city girl, although her dad was a farmer at Iowa also. So she knew about farm life and that. But I think she'd rather-it wasn't really her style, I think.

CP: So you had a natural break point in your life basically. And you make this decision-you return to graduate school after 15 years away. Tell me about that transition.

DW: Yes. Well, it wasn't really easy. It was kinda hard to pick up everything. And you know, farm was home and my life basically, and our life. And just pick up and leave-you leave a lot of memories behind. And it was kinda hard-pack up all your stuff-although I look forward to going back to school. And the transition wasn't the easiest because we've been out of school for 15, 20 years. You don't remember everything. I remember I had to go back and take almost 00:30:00beginning math, you know. And I didn't even know how to factor equations anymore- X squared minus Y squared, I don't know what do you do with that. In fact, I don't know now. [laughs]

But anyway, so school wasn't real easy. I struggled a little bit first. You knowing, getting back into study, you're still kind of the other mode. But we enjoyed it. My wife, fortunately, got a job as a music teacher in the Ames school. So she taught the whole seven years I was in graduate school. She was a music teacher and did very well. She is very talented that way.

CP: Was the ambition from the start to get a Ph.D. or was it initially focusing on a Master's?

DW: That's a good question. I thought one step at the time. But I remember here again the same advisor that I told you, who's asking me about if I was making decisions or not, he told me and said, "Dale, you need to go on for a Ph.D., if 00:31:00you're gonna go on. Because it opens so many more doors for you if you go for the Ph.D." And so I guess from the very beginning almost, I had the idea. It took me three years to do the Master's and four years to do the Ph.D. so I was in graduate school for quite a while. Part of that is because I was teaching quite a bit during the time. And so you couldn't move on. And I remember one year or two, some of the research things didn't turn out what we really wanted them to. So like with cows, if you're doing biological things you can't speed up the process, you know. If you want a whole-year cycle on a cow's life, you can't just turn around, generate some new data-you have to wait a year, kind of thing.

CP: You decided to focus on ruminant nutrition.

DW: Yes.

CP: Why did you decide that?


DW: I guess I was more interested in beef cattle at that point than I was in pigs. It'd been either in swine or in beef cattle. I talked to different professors and the one I got the most encouragement from was the head of the ruminant nutrition department. So that's the direction I went then. And it was fine with me, although as far as working with animals, I think I enjoy pigs more than cows, as far as production-working with animals. As far as the research, the cattle were fine. That was fine with me.

CP: Was this your first experience of doing research?

DW: Basically, yes. Here again, my emphasis, well I felt my strength over the years in academia has been with teaching more than research. But I realize that research is a very important component of the whole picture. So yeah, I enjoyed 00:33:00quite a bit of the research. I didn't do as much lab work as a lot of people do because about the second year there, I got a job as an advisor in the Farm Operation Department. So my pay came was what would've been an instructor, I guess, rather than RA. And so I didn't spend as much time in the lab as some other people might have. They, Iowa State, have a-they call it-Ag Tech program. It was kinda back in the days when the community colleges were just kind of coming in and offering Ag programs, way back 70 years ago. You know like Linn Benton here now have Ag program-that didn't exist, I don't think, then. So the Iowa State started this program. They call it Ag Tech and it's for these kids 00:34:00that maybe didn't quite qualify academically for regular college admission. But we actually had this special set of classes for these kids. They were numbered 40 rather than 400 general, they didn't get regular college credit for them. So I was an advisor for that for a couple of years. Actually, I don't how long after they finally phase that out too over the years. But I did that, as an advisor, and then I was an advisor in the regular Farm Operating Department then-I mean for the regular college students. So I wore different hats when I was there.

CP: So this was more of an advising role than a teaching role? Or was there teaching involved as well, it sounds like?

DW: No, I did some of both actually. Well, this Ag Tech kinda thing we had, I did a little teaching there, I can't remember just what now. But I was an 00:35:00advisor for the Farm Op basically then. And then my last three and a half or four years, we had a program that had been going on-they call it AG 450. It was a student managed farm and it was part of the Farm Op curriculum. And I had taken the class when I was an undergraduate. And actually they had a farm outside of Ames, just a couple miles. This is students actually managed. They had a full-time worker on the farm who actually did the chores and that kinda thing. But the student made the decisions of what to plant, how to plant, what kinda cows to have and all that kind of thing. And so here again, the same man that encouraged me go back to school, he wondered if I wanted to be the instructor of that. So I did that during most of my Ph.D. program. And that's another reason why it took me four years to do the Ph.D. rather than the traditional norm of three years. And that was a very good experience. I really 00:36:00enjoyed that. And of course here my farm background, I could relate to farm problems, I could understand when pigs get sick, that happens, kind of thing. We had really a good time. I made a number of life-long friends out of that class.

CP: Sounds like teaching came pretty naturally to you?

DW: Well, I think so. First, I don't know why, I've always been able to relate to kids at most ages. That's why I've kept doing this until this year basically.

CP: Well before we move on, I'd be just interested to hear you reflect on your connection with Ames and with Iowa State-the place you spent a long, a lot of time in. It was very important to you.

DW: Well yes, I spent a lot of time in Ames. I thought that was the epicenter of the world at the time. [laughs] I never wanted to leave. That was really hard 00:37:00when I got my Ph.D.-I had to leave. I would have stayed that at the drop of a hat. Looking back, I'm glad I didn't. And certainly my world-to come to Oregon-the world become but bigger or smaller, however you want to look at it. But I did love Ames and I got very involved-we went to all of these sporting events. And we participated in the community and church and all the activities. And Ames is very much like Oregon State, or Corvallis-it's that like on college-centered town. And about the same size. But we enjoyed Ames, like I said, whether it's undergraduate, then kept in touch, and then go back as a graduate for seven years. You know, you make a lot of friends in that time. Always have to laugh cuz my wife had my major professors' kids in her music classes. One of them was kinda naughty actually. [laughs] Never was a problem 00:38:00but [laughs]-but yeah, we have a lot of fond memories of Ames.

CP: Well Oregon did happen but Wisconsin happened before that, right? Wisconsin, River Falls, for a couple years. That was your first faculty position?

DW: Right. When I graduated, at that time-I don't know if it was a downturn or what-there weren't an awful lot of jobs out there. And I remember looking at the jobs around the country and I noticed that was one in Oregon and it was at Burns. It wasn't a teaching-it was a research out there. And my wife got the map out and looked out where Burn is-we said, no way. [laughs] You've probably been to Burns, have you?

CP: I have.

DW: I mean, it's a good place but it wouldn't have been for us. Anyway, then I had this job at University of Wisconsin, River Falls, which would be sort of 00:39:00like Eastern Oregon as here, like La Grande, because they had an Ag program and a teaching program and all that. And so then I went up there and interviewed. They offered me a job and I accepted it. It was a good position. They did a very good job of undergraduate education there-a lot of their people went on for graduate programs and things like that. In fact, it's kinda funny, you know who Jim Thompson is-he's retired sheep specialist here now. He is a graduate of there. But I had his younger brother in class in River Falls. But anyway, I was happy there but I really want to get back to the land grant system. Cuz you know, the land grant is more of the mainstream of the professions- if you're in a land grant university. And I really wasn't looking for another position after 00:40:00I was there. To be honest, I didn't really fit in with the faculty there very well. I don't know why. You know how you get in situations you don't know. I didn't think the department really liked me-they didn't really encourage me. I think there's some jealousy there. But who knows. But I just intended to be there the rest of my life. Because we even bought a little farm out in the country that we'll have something to do in the summers and that kind of thing.

Then I had a call-or a letter, I can't remember-which was from a friend of mine who was from my hometown in Illinois. I knew his folks better than him. Well he was a professor here. Bill Hoenbochen [?]is his name. He was here for a number of years. Then he went to Virginia Tech until he retired. Now he's back. He lives actually in Corvallis now. But anyways, he called me and said, "I think we 00:41:00have a job out here you ought to look at." Otherwise, I would've never even known about it cuz I really wasn't actively searching for anything at that time. So I applied. So it would've been in the summer of '76, actually. So I applied for the job and never heard anything for a long time. And then one day, I got a call, from the administrative assistant in Animal Science, wanted to know if I wanted to come out for an interview. And so I did. And it wasn't too long, I think, they called again. You know, Jim Oldfield, the name, cuz there's that Oldfield building here. Well he was the department head then. He was the one that hired me. And he was probably the best employer/boss I ever had, wonderful man. But he offered me a job, so I came.


CP: It's really interesting to hear you talk about wanting to get back to a land grant university or land grant college. It's a term that feels a little watered down now. It doesn't have the same resonance maybe as it once did. But it's interesting to think about a land grant university channeling into different opportunities for people in agriculture wouldn't otherwise be available elsewhere.

DW: I can say they might be available but not as easily available.

CP: And this would be in the context of connections to extension, perhaps, or research funding?

DW: Research funding and the whole association of the industry. Back in those days when I first was here, some of my research, it was funded by companies. And some of that's kinda dried up-I understand. But you have those connections, I 00:43:00think, more. Cuz a company that wants you to do some testing of some product, they'd more have to come to Oregon State to check it out than they would go to River Falls, I should note. Mainly because maybe you have more facilities here and that kind of thing. So anyway, we came here in December of '76. Then I started teaching winter of '77.

CP: What do you remember of your initial impressions of the university and also the town, Corvallis? What was Corvallis like in 1976?

DW: Well, a lot different than now, the way it's grown. But of course, you've been here constantly for over 40 years. It's so gradual. You aren't really aware of how different it was then. But once in a while we'd talk about something, "well, that wasn't even here then, you know years ago", or "what was that place 00:44:00called way back when we first came here?" And places are gone, then or here now, like restaurants and hotels and things. You remember Nendel's Inn? Was that still here when you first came here? I remember when I came into interview, Dr. Oldfield took me to Nendel's for lunch. And my first meal here, my wife and I with these friends from my hometown, we went to Burton's. You remember Burton's used to be in downtown, Burton's Restaurant? So you have those memories of things that are gone but lot of more things-but I liked Corvallis right away. I'd never been to Oregon before in my life till I came out to interview. I'd never been to the Northwest at all. So I didn't know quite what to expect. But my first impression was very positive. And I think when we left here, we decided 00:45:00that if we were offered a job, we would take it.

CP: Very different landscape than what you're used to.

DW: Yes, right. [laughs] There's a lot of trees in Wisconsin but they're not as big. [laughs] But Wisconsin, where we lived, was quite a pretty area. It was quite rolling hills. I don't know if you've ever been to Wisconsin or not, but where River Falls is, if you've ever been to Minneapolis-Saint Paul, well River Falls is only about 30-35 miles just across the river to Wisconsin. So Minneapolis was really our go-to place cuz River Falls was just a little small town-wasn't too much happening there. And two years there, we really enjoyed Minneapolis. And the weather is kind of harsh there-very cold winters, hot humid summers. Weather ain't the best. But growing up in the Midwest, we were used to 00:46:00that anyway.

CP: What do you remember about the Animal Sciences Department at that time?

DW: Here?

CP: Um-hum.

DW: It's a lot different than now. A lot more people. The emphasis then was more on livestock production, I don't know how far or close you follow all that or not. Now there's so much more interest in exotic animals, companion animals, human-animal connections which we didn't even talk about 40 years ago, I think. We talked about sheep production, pig production, you know, that kind of thing. There were a lot more people employed. In just the beef cattle division, I've count up, I think, they might had seven employees. Now they're down to about two, because they have less animals and it's just the way they do things 00:47:00differently than they did then. There were more research done here. Some of the more applied kind of beef cattle research is done more over at Burns now because in Oregon, that's really cattle country more than West of the Cascades, although there are obviously cattle on this side too. So they kinda shifted the emphasis to go over to that part of the state. So in that regard, there's quite a bit of differences in the emphasis on the research.

But how they've modernized-used to be a feed mill down here that used to make their own feeds and things like that. And employed a couple of people-the sheep barn had two or three people, the swine barn, I remember, had three men I think, working there when I first came here. Now they have students living there taking care of the pigs cuz they've downsized a lot. And part of that, as you probably 00:48:00know, Oregon is not a big major swine producing state. And when professor, Dr. Ingla [phonetic]-if you remember that name or not-when he passed away, I think then they actually never really refilled that position, and so it had been more of an instructor kind of basis. So there's a lot of difference in the emphasis and in the number of personnel, and the types of research that most of them are interested in.

CP: Can you tell me about Withycombe Hall before it had a theatre in it?

DW: Well, when I came here, it was still a creamery. They were making cheese in there, where the theatre is now. And before I came, there used to be this type of dairy ice-cream barn in there. That was before your time too, I'm sure, because they weren't there anymore 40 years ago when I came. But that was kind of traditional, old school. I remember Iowa State had a dairy barn. Washington 00:49:00State still has one, I think. But it was a lot different then. I think for quite a few years, until the theatre took over, it was kind of just standing there, empty. I think they quit making-and I was never involved, that was more of that Food Industry Department rather than Animal Science. I don't know what happened when they decided to quit making cheese. And they still matter-they're doing it again now, as you know, but on a smaller scale. You'd probably buy the beaver classic and all that. It's really good.

CP: Who was important to you early on? You mentioned Oldfield.

DW: Well, probably Dr. Oldfield would be one of the most important. I'm trying to-I know you had that on your list-I'm trying to think who I really connected with a lot.

CP: We'll start with Oldfield. Can you tell me more about him?


DW: Who?

CP: Oldfield?

DW: Well, I told you, he was really a gentleman. And I always remember one of the first things when I came here-you never always know quite what the expectations are. And I asked him about keeping office hours. And my goal's to be here from eight to five every day. And I always remember told me, he says "if you do the job we expect you to do. I know you'll be putting in more than 40 hours a week." And I always appreciate that because if you didn't come in until 9 o'clock or 10 o'clock someday, he didn't care. I mean, sure, if it looks like you're absent all the time, people looking for him- "where is he", "who knows where he is"-I don't mean that kind of attitude but, you know, like over the years teaching, a lot of times I used to do a lot of work at home. Sometimes it's easier to grade papers at home than it is in your office when you're 00:51:00interrupted all the time, or make lesson plans. And I always remember he is very straight, he's very encouraging to me. He helped me get my first major research project together-I did a thing with the FDA on variability in intake, beef cows. We fed cows, measured their intake every day for a whole year, I remember. It was a fairly sizable USDA project. He was the type that always was aware of opportunities and so supportive that I don't think he ever got after me for anything I can remember. [laughs] I never got a dressing down, I don't think-that I can remember. But he was a real gentleman. And he was a world-renowned scientist in selenium. So yeah, I'm trying to think about the 00:52:00people-this Bill Hoenbochen [phonetic] I mentioned was always good friends with him. Trying to think who else-do you know who Gene Pirelli is?

CP: I've heard the name.

DW: He just retired. His extension, beef swine specialist, he was in Polk County, that area. He was my first graduate student and so I've kept in touch with him. He's been in that position forever until he just retired-or, he's half-retired now. A half time. But otherwise, I don't know that I really hung out with anybody or really collaborated with anybody that I feel I'm really close to this person. No, I can't really pick. The Dean's Office is very supportive. You know the name Mike Burke.

CP: Um-hum.

DW: He was an Associate Dean here for many years. He was always very supportive 00:53:00of me and my effort particularly with extracurricular activities like, I was involved with, they call it, NACTA-it's National Association College Teachers of Agriculture. I was very involved. In fact, I was president of the organization-it's on there I guess [gesture to the interview notes] - 30 years ago. But he was always very supportive having funding to go to events and to do my duties and that kinda thing.

CP: Well it sounds like the position at the start at least was mostly a teaching position. Is that correct?

DW: Um-hum. But it's always been that way. I think it's almost always been at least 80% teaching.


DW: I think at one time, it was 90%: 10% even, I think.

CP: Let's talk about some of the specifics. You spent at least 22 years teaching Intro to Animal Sciences.

DW: Right.

CP: And that there's reference to it being "hands on" instruction in animal sciences. Can you tell me what that means?

DW: Well, "hands on"?


CP: Yeah.

DW: I used to always try to have labs where the students actually work with the pigs-not just look at them but work with the pigs. Sometimes it works; sometimes it didn't, because it depends who the farm supervisor was and that kinda thing. But we always had labs. And the class in those days weren't quite as large as they are now. With the number they're putting through there now, I think, it would be almost impossible to do that. But we managed it-then I developed a-I call it a self-learning center where particularly the things we did mostly were like learning the breeds of livestock. I'd have a unit of beef cattle, or a unit on pigs. And I would go to one of the labs we had set up and I had student assistants who managed the lab. And the students had to come in and learn the 00:55:00material. And we would test them over either written test, or we had oral quiz sessions. And I learned this one time at a workshop they had here-one of the first years I was here. And so that was a lot of work cuz I'd have a hundred and some students. And then you'd bring them in groups of eight or ten for an hour, oral quiz, or 40 or a half hour. So that took a lot of time. But I think it was very worth it because you got to know the students a little bit better and made them feel engaged, I guess, in the material.

CP: Lots of course work on production, beef, swine and sheep production.

DW: I taught the Animal Science 121. I did teach that for 21 years, I think. And I counted one time how many students I had-it was a couple thousand I think, total. A lot of people are amazed. And I had pictures of all of those students 00:56:00and I still look back at them. And I don't know what I'm gonna do. Who's the other archivist here that-

CP: Well, there's several of us.

DW: Yeah I know there are. Well I've talked to him different times and he wants to look through my stuff sometimes. But I have all these pictures of my students from the last 40 years. And you'd be surprised how often I refer to them. In fact, I just had a letter from a young lady. A "young lady" that was in my class in 1980. And she mentioned an experience that we had had in lab, where I told her she's gonna castrate a pig-or a student had to castrate a pig-and she fainted in class. And I don't even remember that. Anyway, she now owns a meat company in Portland and she's interested in giving back to the department. And we just had some connections with her just this summer. From 40 years ago, so I 00:57:00had to look up her picture too. And she related how she came out to that swine barn not knowing-came with her sorority shirt on, you know-kind of dressed up too much for that to go to the pig barn, kind of thing. Anyways, I guess I don't know what the point is but just that you never know when you're gonna use those things. But I guess the other thing is, I don't know what to do with them, something university would keep or use, because eventually we're gonna have to get rid of it. Anyway, I'm not answering your question, where were we? [laughs] You started asking about production classes.

CP: Well it's just that was another big theme, it seems like from your teaching, was production.

DW: Right. My other major teaching effort was that beef production class. That's really the only one I really taught. And I taught that probably for 15 years. I 00:58:00can't remember how long. And that was a 400-level senior production course. And we talk everything about nutrition, reproduction, genetics, health, all that kinda thing. And we do some field trip. We used to have a lab and that. So we'd go out to Soup Creek Ranch and work with the cattle, that kind of thing. And then in more recent years, after I officially retired, we had a sophomore level swine sheep and I taught that for quite a number of years. I taught just the swine part of it. Then this Jim Thompson I mentioned earlier, taught the sheep part cuz he was a sheep man. And I really enjoyed that too. I'd have five weeks of swine, winter term, and then he'd have 5 weeks of sheep. And so I did that until about five or six years, until he retired. And then they had somebody 00:59:00else take over the whole thing. So it worked out alright.

CP: Was the cattle class that you referenced the "Steer-a-Year"? Or is that something different?

DW: Yes. "Steer-a-Year" has been going on for 25 years here now. And how it came about was the beef extension specialist at that time-you ever heard the name of Kelvin Koong?

CP: Oh yeah.

DW: You know Kelvin?

CP: Um-hum. I've interviewed him.

DW: Oh ok, alright. [laughs] Well maybe he mentioned the "Steer-a-Year", I don't know if he did or not. But he and Bill Zollinger who was the beef extension specialist who had been to Idaho, to some meeting of some kind-cattlemen meeting, I presume, of some kind. And Idaho had the program where people donated a steer to the university. But it was to go to the Athletic Department. They 01:00:00called it "more beef in the line", as the name they put on it-I guess something like that. And so they're talking about that on the way home I guess, and said "why don't we do something like that but then let the proceeds go to Animal Science Department rather than the Athletic Department?" And so they came back and since I was kind of the main beef person at the time, they wondered if I'd be the instructor again and organize. And I think it'd been '93-fall of '93, we started that program. At that time, Kelvin was the active Department Head so he was really the boss of that. It was very encouraged to get that going. So we did that. And it's still going.

I only taught it for six years I think. When I officially retired, I didn't do it anymore-that would have been '99. I think I did it for six years. But that was one of my more enjoyable experiences teaching here cuz it really was hands 01:01:00on. And I told you before, when I was at Iowa State in graduate school, I taught this AG 450 with the students' management class. This approach is the nearest to that of anything I've done like that cuz the students here actually made the management decision-they determine how to feed the cattle, they had to treat them, determine when to sell them and all that kind of thing. And so I really work with students on a very personal basis there. We'd be down there feeding on the weekends, all that kind of thing. And sometimes, you know, there are some very bonding experiences I remember because-I remember one time, a steer died in the class and the students felt bad. I don't think it was anybody's fault. But I said, those are really lessons in life-shit happens, you know-not everything 01:02:00goes the way you want it to. But you know all those are-almost get emotional-those are life experiences when you stand there over a dead steer and try to explain those kind of things.

CP: Yeah, for sure. Well that dovetails a bit into the next thing I was gonna ask you, which is the unique aspects of teaching with animals. You touched on that a couple times.

DW: Well, they can be unpredictable and like I said, stuff happens. You can't always predict what's gonna happen. You don't have the control always. Nature has its own way. I think, to me, it's wonderful to work with living animals, particularly cows and pigs, and things like that.

CP: You did lots of presenting on being an effective teacher, wonder if you could share some of the things?

DW: I don't if I can remember where you got that. [laughs] I went through some 01:03:00seminars here on teaching. You ever heard of the name Dean Osterman?

CP: Um-hum.

DW: You know that name?

CP: I think so, yeah.

DW: Well he was like in the media department here 40 years ago. I don't know what's ever happened to him, he might have passed away. He was quite a young man then. But I remember the first summer I was here, we had a teaching symposium, a three-week thing. This is where I got the idea of having the self-learning center and all that kinda thing. And he had me come to a couple classes and I guess maybe explain some things I did in teaching to a graduate class or something. And you ever know who Will Keim was?

CP: That name rings a bell as well.

DW: He was a campus minister here and was on campus from he was a-well that's 01:04:00kind of beside the point. But he was in that class as a student then. And I remember that's how I got acquainted with him. But anyway, I don't remember giving many other kinda of things like that.

CP: You wrote an article called "A Teacher Lives Forever"?

DW: Yes, you know, I can't even think of it. [laughs] I don't know if it was published in an active publication.

CP: It was 30 years ago.

DW: Was it 30 years ago?

CP: Yeah.

DW: Did you find it?

CP: I did not. I saw a reference to it, though.

DW: You know, I can't remember. I remember one of the first students I had here. He was in my first class, was an Iowa farm boy. And we always kind of laugh because he came though out to Oregon to get away from Iowa and first teacher he had was an Iowa State graduate. [laughs] But anyway, he gave me a little 01:05:00plaque-and I still have it-says "A teacher lives forever. You never know when his influence stops." So I think that's what that article was based off of. But to be honest, I can't remember that.

CP: Well, another major track for you was advising.

DW: Yes.

CP: And you were the head advisor for Animal Sciences for 16 years, 1980-1996. Can you talk a little about that chapter of your career?

DW: Well, that was a busy time. And I enjoyed that too. At that point, we were in a downturn of students-the whole university, you know, was about half as big as it is now, about that time. I remember having the START program-we didn't call it that then-maybe there would be two or three animal science students show 01:06:00up. Now they get a roomful, almost, all of these programs. And part of that, I don't know if you've known or not, when I was still teaching, I wanted to make ANS 121 a bacc core class. And we've been in the biological science area-you're familiar with the bacc core, aren't you? And the people said there wasn't enough science in it and all that, so they didn't approve it. But we finally got it approved and it's been a boon to that class, because a lot of people take it. I think half the football team takes that class, they say. And I mean, I had football players and basketball players back then too but a lot more now. And of course they offer it online also, now a lot of them take 'em online.


But anyway, we had challenges in those days too but it was a good experience, even ending up writing lots of letters of recommendation for your days of advising-well, maybe more from your classroom teaching than from advising, but some of both. And I have files of letters of recommendation. And I don't know what to do with them, throw them away, I've been going through and throwing most of them away. Cuz what do you do with them after a while? Doesn't mean anything to anybody else. But I've kept some for-when you go through those files, that sure brings back a lot of memories. It's how we are-I remember that fella over that young lady. And then there's some of them I don't remember - well, you had so many. But I enjoy being the head advisor. And I'm trying to think if there's any really highlights or anything-it's just that you got to know a lot of people 01:08:00and you spent a lot of time because, like the summer orientation program, as you know from back then, the registration, again, are different than it is now-everybody had to come, had to go see you advisor and work out a program and all that. I think a lot of the kids don't even hardly see their advisors anymore.

CP: We've talked about how research wasn't a major point of emphasis for you. But there was, certainly, research done.

DW: Yes.

CP: And we referenced the first big project with Oldfield, which I think is, what I'm referring to here, the Mean Intake and Variations and Block Intake by Beef Cattle, is that-?

DW: Right.

CP: How did that resolve?

DW: Well, it was a very interesting project. I guess that-I'm trying to remember, it's a long time ago-the concluding statement also is that there is a lot of variation.[laughs] You have animals' choice-they're not all going to eat 01:09:00the same. And I think the point of it was that a lot of time, they were using those kinda blocks as a means to administer drugs of some kind, like dewormers, antibiotics. So I guess the thing they're trying to determine-well, can you depend upon an animal. If you put so much in this block, can you assume that an animal is going to eat that much? Well, what you find out, basically, is no. There's a lot of variation. And I don't know what they ever did with research-how they actually utilized that. But it was a very interesting experience- a couple times I had that-go to Washington D.C. twice and give a report. And it was a very intimidating experience although they were very encouraging. And I had not done anything like that before, go to Washington D.C. 01:10:00that here this panel of people want to hear about your research. I didn't know what to expect but they were all very encouraging. It wasn't intimidating at all once I got to know them.

CP: A few years later, you began a relationship with Hoffman-LaRoche.

DW: Yes.

CP: And this was focused on lasalocid [la-sa-'lou-ˌsid]? Also known as Bovatec?

DW: Yes, we call it lasalocid [la-ˈsal-ə-ˌsid]. It's how they pronounce it.

CP: Oh ok, lasalocid [la-ˈsal-ə-ˌsid]?

DW: Yeah. And I remember, here again, that's industry-sponsored. In fact, I have to look up some of the research we did that I had a couple students did their Master's programs with that. Do you know the name Tim DelCurto?

CP: No.

DW: Well, he was my graduate student. But he was stationed at Burns for a number of years. And Union, you know, the Union station; he was the head of the Union station for a number of years. Just within the last year, he resigned there at the university. He's at Montana State now, as a full professor there. But 01:11:00anyway, I know he did his Master's with that product. And a couple other people did too. And, here again, I can't recall, actually, the result of the things that we found.

CP: What is the product?

DW: It's a feed additive that is supposed to make the animals use their feed more efficiently. It's a drug. I've just been away from the beef industry but I think it is still quite widely used. It's supposed to decrease the amount of blow too and kind of thing. But it wasn't a drug like people would object to, to 01:12:00have it in their food. And you put it in the feed so it's easy to administer. But beyond that, I don't know if they still use it as much as they did or not. I really don't know. I remember I got a nice trip to Phoenix one time when-they have big companies-once they come out with something, they-I don't think they do that so much anymore-had a big event at Scottsdale. Anyway, all people in there are from companies and all people around the country have done research from them, you know. They wined and dined us it was very nice.

CP: A couple years later, another industry-sponsored project, Schering Corp. - 01:13:00-- treatment of nematodes; evaluation of selenium boluses.

DW: Right. And basically I was an accessory to that one because that really was conducted by Vet Med. And basically, why I got involved in that is because I had the cattle that they could use and I was a supervisor of the beef ranch at that time. I never did mention that before, but for a number of years, I was the supervisor of the beef operation. You know, the herdsman would come to me with situations and that kind of thing. They'd come to me then I'd go to Dr. Oldfield or whoever it was, the Department Head. But anyway, my involvement in that was because more, like I said, accessory- I wasn't really doing the science in that or the research.

CP: Where was the beef operation located?

DW: You know where Soap Creek Ranch is?

CP: I'm familiar with Soap Creek Road, yeah.

DW: Well, it's on there. You know where the beef operation is, behind the 01:14:00Oldfield-down the street from the Oldfield building there. That's where the Steer-A-Year barn is, where they have the steers. They're all gone now because they have harvest in them already. And there's a Soap Creek Ranch and Berry Creek Ranch-there are two ranches. And at one time, when I first came here, they had herds of cattle and one of them is more of a genetic operation, the other's more of a nutrition kind of a thing. And they always tell me that two professors that had these didn't get along at all. [laughs] But that was almost before my time. But now, in recent years, they have down-sized the whole operation. They don't have nearly as many cattle as even when I was there. Back we've had a couple hundred head of cows when I was there, I can't just remember.


And another experience I did, when I was teaching the beef production, we would calve cows out. We would bring the cows-they're about to have babies-in here to the barn. And then the students were assigned to watch the cow and be there, when it had its calf, and do the ear tag, and give it a shot, whatever needed. So that was the thing we did. It was no different than a hands on kind of thing. Half the time, the kids would miss the cow having the calf because they wouldn't be there. [laughs] But anyway, like I said, they don't have nearly as many. And my understanding is-I'm not involved anymore-that Berry Creek Ranch is leased out to other people now. We don't use this so they just leased the land. People can bring their cattle in there. And lease it for a fee obviously.


CP: Were there any other locations that you spent a lot of time at that were important to you?

DW: Well I spent a lot of time at Soap Creek there over those years, particularly when that year I had the cows out there that we had to measure their intake every day. I didn't go always-I had the graduate students go part of the time. But I was out there basically most days in the year, and then over the years of course. I haven't been out there for years now cuz I don't have any reason to go out there. But those are two areas and then, of course, the cattle barn down here.

CP: The last research topic, laidlomycin... propionate? [laughs] Something you did with Syntex Laboratories.

DW: Yes and, here again, I was not the major contributor on that either. I'm trying to think who-that's been so long ago. I remember that of course. I have 01:17:00to look up to see if I had a student who did a Master's on that. To be honest, I forgot. Obviously I wasn't closely involved, or I would've remembered more about it.

CP: Well, we've touched on this a little bit in different places. But I want to carve out a moment to ask about collaborations and specifically with Vet Med and with Extension.

DW: I did quite a collaboration with Vet Med over the years. And partly is because they didn't have the animals and we did. So it was a perfect "marriage", if you wanna call it that, although sometimes there were issues. But by large, we had a good relationship with Vet Med. And I don't know if they do anything with Vet Med-well, they do some with Gene something in the name-a lady in Vet, 01:18:00do you know any?

CP: Um-um. [No]

DW: Well it doesn't matter. But you know who Morrie Craig is?

CP: Yes.

DW: Well I did something with him over the years too. Things didn't turn out so well for him lately. But anyway, I did do some things with him. And that was ok. There was a Gary Zimmerman, I think he did this work you were referring to with Schering. And then there's somebody else, Dr. Moss. But he left here, went back to Davis I think. And I can't remember who other doctors that we worked with.

CP: Well one person who straddles to two departments is Kelvin Koong, you mentioned.


DW: Right.

CP: Do you have any memories of him?

DW: Oh yeah, good memories of Kelvin. He'd been my boss, and colleague. And he's done everything-he was head of Ag one time, head of Vet Med one time. Well you know more about it than I do probably. But no, we've been good friends over the years. And like I said, he was the basic-if it hadn't been for him, the Steer-A-Year thing never would have started, probably. Cuz I don't think anybody would have thought of it necessarily. But yeah, I've known Kelvin. He's really a remarkable man. He is one that can relate to most anybody. You know, sometimes, with his nationality and background, it's hard for those to relate to the base of the cattle industry but he didn't have any problem with that. I think he was 01:20:00well respected. Or "is", I shouldn't say "was". He's still doing something. I'm not sure what now. He was head of the ARF for a while. But I think he'd given that up and then he was something for the college. And I think he's given that up now. I forgot now what he's doing.

CP: How about connections with Extension?

DW: Not a lot of close connections with the Extension. A number of people-well I mentioned that's Gene Pirelli who is the just retired area extension. He's housed out of Polk County but he and I have done some publications together. In fact, we're still working on revising some publications as we speak. We had one on feeder pig production. We have one cow-calf. And we did a beef production for 01:21:00the small producer a couple years ago. That was put out and finished. So we're still doing those. In fact, I'm supposed to meet with him any day now too. We'd go over some changes-you know, you're supposed to revise the publications every so often. And otherwise, with the Extension-I'm trying to think if I had any real close connections. Sometimes you would depend upon-like teaching beef production, I would have the beef extension specialist come in and give a guest lecture on what they do and etc., challenges. They used to have lambing schools but I never was directly involved in those.

CP: Graduate students. We've touched on them a lot throughout here. Any 01:22:00particular memory you'd like to share of graduate students?

DW: Well I had a lot of good ones.

CP: Yeah.

DW: I didn't have a bad one-I don't think. [laughs] Like I mentioned, Gene Pirelli was the first one I had. And he went and has a very successful Extension career. Tim DelCurto, I mentioned, is at Montana now. He and his wife were both my Master's students. I didn't know at the time when they were dating when they were graduate students. [Laughs] He told me now long ago. I took him aside one time and he said, "You told me I shouldn't be dating another graduate student." I don't remember telling that-and I don't know why I told him that. But anyway, I remember he and his, now, wife announced their engagement at our house one time when my wife and I had the graduate students over for a Saturday morning brunch. And at that brunch in our living room, he mentioned that they were 01:23:00engaged. But Tim went on to Kansas State-did very well. Got his Ph.D. at Kansas State. And, like I said, he's been at Burns and now he's in Montana.

Wade Nichols did a Master's and he's sharing one of those large animal health product companies-he's done very well. Have a number of former graduate students that went on to get Ph.D. but also DVMs. At one time there, I think I had six or seven Master's students at one time. I never did have a Ph.D. student myself. I never felt that I had an encompassing enough area of research to maybe challenge a Ph.D. student. So I never really actively sought to do but I did, like I said, quite a number of these Masters of Ag, which, if you're familiar with Ag, is a 01:24:00non-thesis kind of a-I'm not sure they still have it-I think they do. I had a lot of-I don't know how many I did. But I can look back through the records and find-but quite a number.

CP: How about service work-we've touched that a little bit also. What's some service work that stands out to you as being particularly meaningful?

DW: What particularly are you referring to, service work?

CP: Well, with professional organization. You mentioned being the president of the National Association of Colleges and Teachers of Agriculture. Maybe that's a place to start?

DW: Well, I got involved in that early on. I don't know how. One time they had awards and, I think about '82 or '83, I got an award for the teacher from the Western region or something like that. And then I thought that was a good organization so I started getting involved. Then I became a regional director 01:25:00for a couple years. And finally they asked me if I wanted to be president. That was a good experience. Actually we hosted that here in Oregon State when the year I became president-I think it was. They have a national convention every year. And I haven't been to it for years. I was really involved and then after a few years, I got more involved in the Animal Science Society-American Society of Animal Science. And it just seemed like I kinda dropped out of NACTA-I'm still a member but I haven't been to a meeting for years. But then I had been more involved in the Animal Science Society. And after that, I never had an office position or anything. But I organized, I remember, a symposium one time-organized a teaching symposium that was held at a national meeting. And that was kind of a big deal. Actually it was in Kentucky, I think, where's the 01:26:00Grand Ole Opry?

CP: Tennessee, I think. Nashville?

DW: No. What's in Kentucky?

CP: I'm not sure.

DW: Well maybe it was Tennessee, I guess. I think it was probably Tennessee. Anyway, I brought in some outside speakers. A lot of professional areas probably do too-they have symposia of different things. Mine was supposed to be on-I can't remember what aspect of teaching now. But that was mine. And then there's the Animal Science Foundation. And I was on that board for a couple years too. And that's been 10, 15 years ago now.

CP: What is Gamma Sigma Delta?

DW: That's an agricultural honorary. It still exists on campus here. It's a 01:27:00national organization.

CP: And you were connected to the OSU chapter?

DW: Yes. I think I was president one year or two. And it's a much lower profile now than it was 20 years ago-I don't know why. We used to have an annual meeting. We'd have a dinner here in the MU and make awards and things. Now it's kind gotten to point it's basically-maybe when they honor all the Ag students in that at the end of the year, they'll induct the Gamma Sigma Delta members-kind of a low profile thing now. It's an Ag honorary for high grades and undergraduates can join if you have a certain GPA as juniors and seniors, and then graduate students and faculty too. In fact, I wasn't in Gamma Sigma Delta until I was a faculty member here. And you know who Russell Karow is?


CP: Um-um. [No]

DW: He used to be the head of Crop Science. He just retired. He's been the acting president. And I think it's kind of under the jurisdiction-you know Penny Diebel?

CP: No.

DW: She is one of the Associate Deans of College of Ag. She's kind of the Academic Dean. I think she is the one that kinda takes care of the Gamma Sigma Delta now.

CP: I'm particularly interested in asking you about your involvement with commencement. OSU's commencement exercises are unique and you're a Senior Column Marshall. What does that mean?

DW: They just ask different people from different colleges to-you've watched the parades-lead the students. It's nothing. It's really no big deal. You gotta get your cap and gown and show up at graduation. And I think our job at that time-I 01:29:00did a number of years, I think-was to make sure the students are lined up correctly and that kind of thing. And you either lead the column or trail the column. It was a volunteer thing. I think you're, probably initially, asked to do it. And I said "It's kind of fun to do." So I did that. And I haven't done that now for maybe since I retired, I'm not sure.

CP: Keeping them in order is important though, right? Because they get their actual diploma in a certain way.

DW: [Laughs] Right, or else they'll all get mixed up. Did you get yours-or, did you go through it that way?

CP: I did not, no.

DW: But I remember one time-you know, just one person is out of line-I remember one time people were passing diplomas back because somebody either left the line or something. [Laughs]

CP: So you retired in 1999 but you didn't really retire-it's pretty clear that 01:30:00you continued to teach until last year?

DW: You know what the U-Engage program is. I taught that since-I think 2000 was the first year. And I taught almost every year. I think in one or two years, for some reason, I didn't teach it. But I taught, just a year ago now, this Fall. But now they discontinued the program. I don't know if you've heard that or not but they discontinued the U-Engage. It was time for me to quit, I think, anyway. But I would have done it one more time, maybe. I kept saying for five years "it's my last time." But that was a very good experience for me too.

CP: Can you talk about what that program is so they get that on the record?

DW: Sure. When it started, it was called "Odyssey". And I don't know they had it yet when you were a freshman or not-probably not. It started a number of years 01:31:00before I taught it. And I don't know whose idea it was that freshmen need some kind of transition to college, rather than just thrown 'em in the fire, so to speak. And, like I said, I don't know who really was behind it-maybe somebody like George Keller, you remember that name?

CP: Yup.

DW: And at that time when they first started, they emphasized senior faculty to teach it, or retirees to teach it. And then when I was teaching full-time, I just felt I didn't have time to do it. But once I retired, I felt, well I have time to do this. And when it first started out, it was just a one-credit pass/no-pass class. Well then somewhere along the line-and I can't remember-maybe 15 years ago, they decided to change the emphasis with more of academic emphasis. And so everybody who proposed a class had to have some kind 01:32:00of an academic theme. And mine has always been "what are you eating." So we talk about food-how it gets from the farm to the table, my Ag background showing up there. And it was a two-credit and graded, so you'd have some requirements. And you'd have a class of 25 max. So I did that every year. And now what had happened to it-I don't know how much you know about this but-they decided that they want each college to do their own thing anymore. And in the recent years, Business and Engineering have had their own. But the others haven't. And they're trying to struggle with how to offer this to everybody-cuz if you've had a couple thousand freshmen in classes of 25, how many sections would that take? It was almost overwhelming. I'm not in the decision to discontinue it. I was sorry 01:33:00to see it discontinued.

But in the last couple years, the enrollment has decreased a lot. And they tell me one of the reasons it has decreased is because, remember one time they had this plateau. If you took up to 16 credits, it was all the same cost. Now each credit counts more. Well five, ten year ago, people said "Well, I need two more credits to get to 16. Well this could be a good thing." And they think that that has been one of the reasons there has been a decreased interest in it. Anyway, in fact, last fall that was the first class I ever had that was not full. I had almost full but I could've had a couple more. It was a very good experience and you always had a peer leader. My peer leader usually was from previous year's class, somebody I got to know. And I used to treat the peer leader as a co-teacher almost, if they're interested in that. And so I guess to me it's been 01:34:00one of the more-in fact, I'm gonna miss it this fall cuz if I had one now I'd be planning my speakers and different things we do. We used to take a trip out to a pig farm just out here by Philomath. That was always the favorite class of the whole fall to go out to the pig farm. Cuz a lot of these kids are city kids, never been around pigs. They would take selfies of them with the pigs and petting them and all that kind of stuff. But I'd get guest speakers in. We talk about careers, we talk about time management, talk about food. I'd take them down to the food bank-that's not what they call it-but you know what I'm talking about.

And then an interesting sideline here is that about ten years ago-10 or 12 years ago, I'd have to look for sure-the lady in charge, you ever heard of Jackie Balzer, she was in charge of the program back then-she wanna know if I would 01:35:00mind if President Ray co-taught the class with me. And so for two years, he co-taught the class with me. So that was an interesting experience. I was very impressed with how he did because obviously he wasn't always there-he had other things he had to do. But when he was there, he was always very engaged in the class. He helped with the planning and he would take my peer leaders out for lunch after the end of the term. And so since then, he has always come and given a lecture to my class. Probably the only U-Engage class that had President Ray come. So he's done that every year.

CP: Wow!

DW: He'll come and I think he enjoys it because he'll sit in the big circle-or he did sit in the big circle. And he'll just talk about his life. And I'd always try to prime the kids to ask some questions to him. And I think he enjoys that 01:36:00because he doesn't very often get a chance, I think, to really sit down in an informal situation-sure he gives lectures to thousands of students at one time-but to sit there with 25. So that has been kind of an interesting experience for me to have him in there.

CP: What did you take away from that about him as a person? He's retiring soon. It's a big change for OSU coming up.

DW: It will be. Well, it's like everybody else, he has had challenges. You've probably -he always gives his life story about how he, you know, he's the first of his family to go to college and had this opportunity to go to Stanford, he didn't know what Stanford was-you've probably heard that story. And he usually goes through that. Otherwise, you know, people kinda put him up on a pedestal 01:37:00because he's the president. But he's just like the rest of us-same problems and issues.

CP: You mentioned early in the interview about having a talent for relating to people. And I gather this continued with 18-year-old millennials.

DW: Yes. [laughs] Well I think so. Like I said, a lot of the ones I have as peer leaders have usually been students in the class. And I still keep in touch with a number of the students I've had in class over the years. It's been fun. You know, I think my big thing about teaching is the engagement with the students. And that's why I haven't-you know, some people retire and they never want to set foot on campus again, you've seen that. And I never really figured that out. 01:38:00Because I think, to me, it almost seems like they really didn't enjoy their work that much if they can't get away from here soon enough. I run into people all the time that I've had in the class. Ran into a young lady in Nordstrom not a year or so ago. Was in U-Engage ten years ago or something like that. And on campus, I'm involved in my fraternity here too as a faculty advisor. So that takes some time also.

CP: I want to ask you about other aspects of your life and retirement. I have to believe that Dixon Recreation Center is one of them-you're a bit of a celebrity at Dixon Rec.

DW: [Laughs] Well I don't know if- I say I'm infamous [laughs] And it has given me a lot of notoriety though, actually. It's been amazing to me how many people have-I'll be in the locker room-say "is that your picture out there." You know, 01:39:00somebody will say-I was at the check-out counter at Fred Meyer maybe a year ago, said "Your picture is up in Dixon?" So it's been a lot of embarrassing, almost, sometimes. But you know, of course if you have enough ego that you enjoy that.

CP: Your picture is up there for a reason though. You're often there. Can you talk about Dixon as a place that's important to you, and fitness as a value?

DW: Well, it has been. I believe very much in keeping physically fit. Obviously I'm not a specimen of manhood or anything like that. [laughs] But I think I've been going to Dixon ever since I came here for over 40 years. It was sure far different than it is now.

CP: Indeed.

DW: But to me, it's an invigorating place to go. And I've had some back issues and things, so I work with trainers there. In fact, I still usually have a 01:40:00trainer because I figure that I wanna be sure I'm doing things right, rather than just pulling levers and things and not knowing whether you're really doing it right. I've had some really nice young guys as trainers-I don't know if you've used a trainer or not, but some of them are really very knowledgeable. Did you ever know Gita [phonetic] who used to be there? He was their medical person. They let him go-I don't know why-a couple years ago. But if you had an injury or something, that's who you went to. And I had a rotator cuff thing three years ago and went to him. And he was the one that said "Well you'd better go see a doctor" kind of a thing. So yeah, Dixon's been very-I guess I would say-important. I miss it now these couple weeks it's closed. I think this doesn't seem right to have it close. [CP laughs] I remember, years ago, I went 01:41:00to Langton at one time but their hours weren't very good so I usually don't do that.

CP: What else has sustained you in your retirement years? Your focuses?

DW: Well I mentioned Dixon. And I still am involved in some committees. You know what the E.R. Jackman Foundation is? We have an internship support program where we give money to students who are doing low-paid or non-paid internships. I've been the chair of that for I don't know how many years. So we do that three times a year. That's no big deal but it does keep me involved. You know Paul Dorres? He's in that office-maybe not, I think. But it doesn't matter. But 01:42:00anyway, been involved in that. Otherwise on campus-what have I been involved in on campus-I told you I'm doing some periodicals with this former graduate student of mine, Gene. I'm on the OSU Loyal Committee. Have you heard of OSU Loyal?

CP: Um-hum. [Yes]

DW: You know Larry Landis? He's on that committee. And so I've gotten to know him.

CP: And this is a fundraising initiative?

DW: For within the staff and faculty. And apparently, we've had some positive results, you know. They were telling me-it really surprised me-they send out emails periodically to promote what we're doing. Do you know what percentage of people actually open those?

CP: The emails?

DW: Yeah.

CP: No. [laughs}

DW: About 25%. And then somebody said, well that's high for some universities. I 01:43:00mean you see that OSU Foundation or something, they just delete it-don't even open it. I can't believe that I thought, from Foundation, most people would at least open it to see what it's about. But they don't. Well, but people get so much stuff, don't they? I mean, I delete a lot of stuff too-I have ads on my computer. You do too, don't you, just delete them? My wife gets all these from stores and all that. I don't even open them. Otherwise, well I told you I'm involved in my fraternity. So I go over there quite a bit. I don't go there a lot but I mean I interact with the kids and help. And some of them help me do yard work and stuff too. So that's good. Good benefit.

CP: Is this a faith-based fraternity, Acacia?

DW: No.


DW: When it was founded over a hundred years ago, it was a Masonic background. 01:44:00It was a white Protestant. And when I joined, I don't think we even had Catholics in the house like they're all white male Protestants I think. Now it's everybody. All nationalities, basically, which is good.

CP: My last question for you is just to reflect on OSU. It's a place you've been affiliated with for over 40 years now. It's changed a lot. We've talked about that change-we've talked about change in Animal Science for sure. What do you think OSU is headed at this point?

DW: I saw that on there on your list. [laughs] I don't really know. I think it's good. There's sure a lot of improvement-if you think about all the buildings on campus, even the last ten years. If you hadn't been here for 20 years, you would 01:45:00have hardly recognized the campus, would you? Sometimes you kind of worry about the direction the world is going in general. I'm concerned now about our national politics and all that, the way stuff's going. It just seems like there's no civility anymore. And there's so much going on in the country that I don't like and I don't know what the university can necessarily do about it. But a lotta times, things are reflected back aren't they? It happens everywhere. But I guess there have been tough times before. I was thinking about when I was in graduate school-it was in the late 60s-we had all the Vietnam-all the protest-on 01:46:00campus and all that. Can't hardly remember now but I remember people used to lay down in front of the buses that were taking the draftees to Des Moines to be inducted. Anyway, we had protests on campus and all that-it was kind of an unsettling time then too. But I guess we survived it.

I think President Ray's done a good job of leadership here. Sometimes the things that bother me a little bit are the politics we get into, like the renaming of the buildings here. Sometimes I think you really can't eliminate history, always. So I can see both sides of some of those issues. But sometimes I think we want to sweep stuff under the rug. That's been there-it is part of history. 01:47:00There's always gonna be changes here. Sometimes I think the Animal Science Department is getting more away from the traditional as we think of "animal science". Me being really from the old-school, sometimes it feels a little bit foreign to you. I mean, you realize that life changes and progresses. They always say, "Progress cannot occur without changes, not all changes progress." You've probably heard that statement before. So I don't know-you just trust that people make good decisions and keep the ship upright, and move forward.


CP: Yup.

DW: If you wonder about 50 years from now, what the world would be like, it's almost scary to me-when you think about all the technology today and how everything is the social media and all that. When you get to my age, it's almost hard to relate to where that can all go, you know. You see, when I grew up, we didn't even have TV. I think I was through college where we got our first TV. And that was basically a black/white square box where if you had to look at that now, wouldn't that be something? [Laughs] And you know we talk about how we used to have this program called Blackboard. That's the predecessor to Canvas, or something like that. I have an image of Blackboard-well I think of a blackboard with chalk, you know. [laughs] But anyway, change has to occur. And it will, 01:49:00hopefully. Here you kind of worry about these young people now, and how are the kids growing up, just what kind of the world they're gonna have in 50 years from now-hope it's good.

CP: Me too.

DW: But anyway.

CP: Well Dale, this has been a pleasure. Thank you very much for sharing your story with us.

DW: I hope I didn't say anything that's gonna be recorded in history. [laughs]

CP: I think the whole thing will be. [laughs]

DW: Probably yeah. This is history now. [laughs] But I try to be not too political.