Helping Livestock Judging And Animal Research Reach New Heights

Dr. Tyrone Artz, a retired orthopedic surgeon in Valley Center, Kan., never forgot the lessons he learned showing livestock in 4-H and as an undergraduate at Iowa State University.

“Showing livestock teaches responsibility and that animals deserve a high quality of life,” he says. “They should be respected and treated decently, and not taken for granted.”

Artz created an estate provision in his will so future students may learn these same lessons as they grow their skills and experience in livestock judging at Iowa State.

As a freshman in animal science in 1960, Artz remembers feeling anxious about “making the grade.” But something he heard at his orientation session stuck with him, even tho ugh the speaker’s name has faded from memory: “Students that have the ‘I will’ fare much better than students that have the I.Q.”

He took the comment to heart, worked hard and gained confidence during his first quarter. His grades were high, and he was accepted to vet school.

He would have “D.V.M” behind his name rather than “M.D.” if it weren’t for an exchange with his local veterinarian while working on his home farm one hot Iowa summer day.

“In the middle of a particularly hot and messy visit our local vet asked me why I’d ever want to do what he did for a living and reminded me doctors work in the comfort of air conditioning,” Artz recalls with a smile. “He told me if I was smart enough for vet school I was certainly smart enough for med school.”

Artz took his vet’s advice. After graduating from Iowa State he completed medical school at the University of Iowa and the University of Wisconsin, Madison.

While his future didn’t play out in animal agriculture, he’s taking steps to ensure future animal scientists trained at Iowa State University have the best opportunities.

Now retired, Artz has invested in both Iowa State and the University of Iowa with a land gift through his estate. His gift to Iowa State also will benefit the College of Veterinary Medicine with the creation of an endowed professorship.

Maynard Hogberg, professor and chair of animal science, says Artz’s gift will provide the margin of excellence over similar programs across the country.

“The Artz Judging Team Fund will assist with recruiting the best students and reinforce our commitment to leadership skills development,” Hogberg says. “It will create an environment for students to interact with and care for animals and to better understand the agricultural and food system.”

The gift also will endow the Artz Chair for Faculty Excellence in Animal Science for a faculty member who has shown distinction in undergraduate education and  research in an area that strengthens and supports animal agriculture in Iowa.

Funds generated from Artz’s endowed gift of farmland will support students, faculty and staff and programming. It will provide travel support, scholarships, professional development, materials, equipment and the development of a stronger advising system. The department will use part of the fund to sponsor and host judging competitions and recruitment programs.