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Donors make first endowed chair possible for Purdue's animal sciences department

Purdue University's Department of Animal Sciences has established its first endowed chair in poultry science, which will help support a faculty member conducting research, education and outreach in an industry that has an annual impact on the Indiana economy of more than $4 billion.

The Terry and Sandra Tucker Chair in Poultry Science will help leverage current research on issues of importance to the poultry industry with a focus on physiology, immunology, disease and well-being. The chair is named in recognition of a $1 million gift from the Tuckers, which will be matched through the College of Agriculture Endowed Chair Challenge Matching Gift Program to create a $2 million endowment.

“Through the generosity of Terry and Sandra, we will be able to recruit and retain a faculty member to play a critical role in conducting research and extension that is beneficial to consumers and the duck and broader poultry industry while educating the next generation of professionals,” said Karen Plaut, the Glenn W. Sample Dean of Purdue Agriculture.

The Tuckers will be honored at the end of August with the President’s Council Pinnacle Award, one of Purdue's highest honors, which is given to recognize donors who have given more than $1 million to the university.

Terry Tucker is chairman of the board and CEO of Maple Leaf Farms, a leading producer of duck products in North America that produces more than 10 million ducks each year. Its duck and chicken products are sold to markets in all 50 states and in 40 export regions. Maple Leaf was founded near Milford, Indiana, in 1958 by Donald Wentzel, Sandra Tucker's father.

Sandra earned her bachelor's degree in 1963 from Purdue in elementary education. Terry, also a 1963 Purdue graduate, earned his bachelor's degree in agricultural economics and was awarded an honorary doctorate in agriculture by the university in 1995.

“Indiana is a national leader in the poultry industry, ranking first in duck production, third in egg production and fourth in turkey production," said Alan Mathew, department head and professor of animal sciences. "The endowed chair that this gift makes possible represents our commitment to furthering the education, research and outreach in this important sector."

The Department of Animal Sciences is the College of Agriculture's largest department, with more than 650 undergraduates, 60 graduate students and 31 faculty members. Faculty expertise encompasses nutrition, breeding, management, and animal well-being and behavior in the specialty areas of poultry, beef, swine, dairy, sheep and meat sciences.

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