United Animal Health honors late Dr. Gary L. Allee

Legacy to the swine industry lives on in the many students that he mentored.

June 27, 2024

3 Min Read
United Animal Health

United Animal Health honored the late Dr. Gary L. Allee, with the 2024 John B. Swisher Leadership Award on Thursday, June 6 at World Pork Expo, celebrating his lifelong contributions to the swine industry.

The John B. Swisher Leadership Award is awarded annually during World Pork Expo to an individual who has significantly contributed to the advancement of the swine industry and who has exhibited extraordinary leadership qualities throughout their career.

Allee, who passed away in 2020, was awarded posthumously. His wife, Norma Allee, accepted the award on his behalf.

“He would be very, very proud,” Norma said of her late husband. “He always said his greatest success was his students. He loved his job, and he loved his students.”

Allee was a world-renowned swine nutritionist who spent more than 25 years at the University of Missouri as an undergraduate student, graduate student, faculty member and department head. For nearly two decades, Allee built his career at Kansas State University, where he and Norma raised their two children and made lifelong friendships. In 1987, he went home to Missouri to lead the Animal Sciences Department at the University of Missouri. Eventually he returned to his true professional love—collaborative research—and formed productive and rewarding new partnerships that further propelled his career. His greatest professional legacy was his mentorship of 27 doctorate and 28 master's students.

“Dr. Allee always said he was most proud of his grad students in the swine industry. He measured his success through the success of others,” Aaron Gaines, managing partner for Ani-Tek, commented during his remarks at the ceremony. “That’s something John Swisher and Dr. Allee have in common. They really care about the success of others."

Gaines is one of the doctorate students mentored by Allee and he remains close with the family today. Also in attendance were several other former students of Allee, together with past recipients of the honor.

Allee was recognized nationally and internationally for his pioneering contributions to swine nutrition and swine production. He gave more than 200 invited presentations in 26 states and 28 countries. He authored more than 100 refereed journal articles and more than 350 abstracts and technical papers. He proudly served as the vice president, president and director of the Midwest American Society of Animal Sciences, which hosts an annual symposium in his honor, and on the Board of Directors of Omega Protein Corp. for nearly two decades.

As a part of this award, United Animal Health will donate $5,000 to the University of Missouri Gary L. Allee Memorial Scholarship Fund.

Allee maintained that his rewarding life and career would not have been possible without the scholarships that allowed him, as one of 11 children raised on a family farm in rural Missouri, to attend college. To honor his legacy, the Gary L. Allee Memorial Scholarship Fund awards need-based scholarships to students who also dream of studying agriculture at the University of Missouri.

“I knew Gary and his contributions to the pork industry were outsized”, remarked Doug Webel, president and CEO of United Animal Health, as he presented the award. “Gary was not afraid to challenge the status quo and his legacy to the swine industry lives on in the many highly influential students that he mentored who contribute to the industry today.”

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