Professor, Department of Animal Science, Colorado State University
Dr. Temple Grandin is a Professor of Animal Science at Colorado State University. She had no speech until age four and had all the symptoms of autism. At age 2 ½, she received intensive speech therapy and was taught how to take turns at games. Her mother knew how to “stretch” her slightly outside her comfort zone to try new things. She was always given a choice of different new things to try. In a small elementary school, she thrived because her mother and the teachers worked together as a team. The rules were the same at both home and school. Both her mother and her teachers developed her ability in art, and she was encouraged to draw many different things instead of the same horse head. In high school, she was bullied but she had friends who had shared interests in horses, model rockets, and electronics. Her interest in cattle started when she visited her aunt’s ranch as a teenager. She earned her Ph.D. in animal science in 1989 from the University of Illinois, and during her career, she has done research on cattle behavior and animal welfare. Her designs for cattle handling facilities are used around the world by many major companies. She also developed an objective scoring system for assessing animal welfare at meat companies, and she implemented its use by McDonald’s Corporation, and Wendy’s International, and other major meat buyers.
In 2010 HBO made a movie about her life that won seven Emmy Awards. Other achievements are a TED talk and being named one of Time Magazines most influential people in the Heroes category. She had two books on the New York Times Bestseller List. They are Animals in Translation and Animals Make us Human. She has authored fifteen other textbooks and popular books on autism, animal behavior, livestock handling, and animal welfare. In 2015 she received the Meritorious Achievement Award from the OIE World Animal Health Organization and was inducted into the American Academy of Arts and Sciences in 2016. In 2017, she was inducted into the Women’s Hall of Fame.