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Regents professor named Piper Professor Teaching Award recipient

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Dr. Steven Lukefahr, a Texas A&M University-Kingsville Regents Professor, has been awarded the Piper Professor Teaching Award for the year 2021.

The Minnie Stevens Piper Foundation, a non-profit, charitable corporation that was organized in 1950, annually honors 10 professors in the state of Texas for superior teaching at the college level. The roster of Piper Professors includes outstanding professors from two and four-year colleges and universities, public and private.

In 1994, he joined the Department of Animal & Wildlife Sciences at Texas A&M-Kingsville. He was promoted to Professor in 1996.

As a Texas A&M-Kingsville professor, he has served as a role model and has impacted the lives and careers of countless students. 

“I always tried to get to know my students on a first name basis. I praised them when they earned it and admonished them when they needed to make a greater effort,” Lukefahr said. “Witnessing my student’s motivation – as a result of their learning achievements – has always been my own major source of motivation. For example, having a student come to my office with news of just getting an offer of their dream job or getting accepted into graduate or veterinary school, makes it all worthwhile.
 
“As a former student myself at Texas A&I University in the late 1970’s, I hope that I have carried on the tradition of faculty who provided both a learning and a nurturing and caring environment to guide students towards their careers and to always do their best. Lastly, I am grateful to my students and colleagues for supporting me for this award.”

Lukefahr earned his B.S. degree in Animal Science (summa cum laude) from Texas A&I University in 1978. His M.S. (1980) and Ph.D. (1982) degrees were from Oregon State University, where his doctoral dissertation investigated rabbit meat production efficiency.

He is married to the former Brenda Dawson. They have two children, Jessica and William.

He has taught more than 5,000 students in over 150 separate course offerings. He shares with his students his passion and wealth of international experiences, as well as his vast research and personal livestock production business experiences, which help students to better understand concepts and real-world applications. 

“There are very few individuals that receive the honor of the Piper Professor Teaching Award,” said Dr. Shad D. Nelson, Professor and Dean of the Dick and Mary Lewis Kleberg College of Agriculture and Natural Resources.  “To be honored for such an award, the professor must be recognized not only by those they teach, but have gain the respect and honor of their own faculty peers.” 

In 2005, Lukefahr received the distinguished Regents Professor title, largely for his teaching accomplishments. He has been the recipient of several college and university teaching awards in addition to the Chancellor's Teaching Excellence Award in 2009. In 2020, in recognition of his career contributions, he received the prestigious Darwin B. Nelson Distinguished Research Award by the Transformative Emotional Intelligence Foundation.

He has written popular books and training materials on rabbit production, and approximately 200 refereed publications. In terms of service, from 2004 to 2008, Lukefahr served as President of the World Rabbit Science Association (WRSA), and from 2008 to 2016 he served as WRSA General Secretary for Rabbits in Developing Countries.

Lukefahr is regarded as a pioneer and a leader in rabbit production science in the developing world. He has developed and evaluated rabbit and other small livestock projects in over 30 developing countries, targeting poor, village-based families.

In 1997, Lukefahr was the recipient of the coveted International Animal Agriculture Bouffalt Award, presented by the American Society of Animal Science.

“Dr. Lukefahr has elevated the teaching profession in animal science, and has influenced in positive ways more students than the majority of professors have the opportunity to teach during their careers,” Nelson said. “This award honors his life’s dedication to his craft, not only is he a great scholar, but he is a superior teacher that students of Texas A&M University-Kingsville have had the pleasure to be instructed by inside and outside the classroom.  It is rare for me to find a student that doesn’t consider Dr. Lukefahr a great teacher, and more importantly a trusted friend that helped them in their quest for increased knowledge and higher education.”

Category: Ag/Env & Wildlife Sci , General Univ

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