Senior Lecturer, Animal Science
Ian Garnett was senior lecturer in the Department of Animal Science at UC Davis and Director of the Masters of Agriculture and Management program. During his ten years at UCD he had a major role in the successful establishment of this new degree program, and achieved an enviable reputation as a teacher and adviser at both undergraduate and graduate levels. His outstanding career was cut short by cancer at the early age of 55.
Ian was born in England but moved to Canada with his parents when he was three. After completing a B.S. degree in poultry science in 1968 and M.S. degree in quantitative genetics in 1970 at the University of British Columbia, he was awarded a Commonwealth Fellowship for graduate studies at the University of Edinburgh. He completed the Ph.D. in quantitative genetics under the direction of Professor Douglas Falconer in 1973. For the following four years he held a position as Research Scientist with Agriculture Canada, but then moved into industry in a position with Cargill, Inc. Initially the position was in animal breeding, but his management skills were soon recognized by Cargill, and over the next several years he held positions of increasing managerial responsibility with that firm. From 1986 to 1990 he was manager of Midwest livestock operations for Cargill.
Dr. Garnett, very successful in a business career, was interested in returning to an academic position, particularly one with an emphasis on teaching. In 1990 he was recruited by UCD as director of the newly created professional master’s degree program, the Masters of Agriculture and Management (MAM). The history of the development of that program is of interest. When Dr. James H. Meyer retired as chancellor of the Davis campus in 1987 he returned to the Animal Science Department. Meyer had a long-term interest in establishing a professional Masters degree in agriculture and with his guidance an innovative proposal was developed. The program involved a year of course work in the Graduate School of Management, combined with in-depth courses in an agricultural field and a six-month internship in an agricultural enterprise or agency. Approval of the proposal presented the challenging task of finding a person with the unique combination of academic credentials and relevant managerial experience required to implement such a program. Dr. Garnett’s credentials appeared tailor-made for the position.
The position and the person proved to be a remarkably good match. Dr. Garnett’s expertise, energy, enthusiasm and ability to work with people with a broad range of interests led to development of a very successful program. He was able to recruit some very good students, who now hold positions of leadership in a variety of enterprises. He quickly established many contacts throughout the state, and worked very closely with the students in helping them find and complete productive internships. An indication of the quality of students in the program was that several were recruited as teaching assistants in the Graduate School of Management in their second year. Also, although completion of research was not a specified requirement for the degree, several of the MAM students published scientific papers based on work done in collaboration with Dr. Garnett and colleagues with whom he developed successful collaborations.
Ian loved teaching. He was invariably enthusiastic, and his rather different career than most university faculty in the field added an interesting dimension to his courses. In addition to the professional courses he developed for the MAM program, he taught introductory animal science, and collaborated in development and teaching courses in production and management of equine, ruminant and non-ruminant species. He regularly co-taught a freshman seminar in the Science and Society series, a course to which he brought a unique perspective from his experience in industry and management. He developed and led a very successful field trip course that was facilitated by his many contacts in the state. Ian was also an exceptional adviser and mentor of students, and in 1999 received the College’s Outstanding Adviser Award.
The Department of Animal Science benefited greatly in other ways from Ian’s contributions. He helped develop more efficient ways of managing the department’s animal facilities as well as to plan for new facilities. His familiarity with the livestock industries and ability to talk knowledgeably with producers was an exceptionally valuable asset to a department that deals with commodity groups.
Ian is greatly missed by his colleagues not only for his outstanding professional contributions but also for his sense of humor and invariably cheerful outlook. Ian and his wife Eleanore’s dancing skills were much admired at department social events. Eleanore and their three children all continue to live in northern California.