Dairy cattle, pigs, horses, and mules appeared on the campus of the
Farmer's High School in the late 1850s. Photos of the campus before Old
Main was completed show a dairy barn, piggery, horses, and mules. These
animals were a permanent part of every Pennsylvania farm operation. Here
at Penn State they were used to work the fields, feed the early students
and laborers, and as a source of surplus meat and milk that could be
sold to the residents in town. These sales supported early farm operations.
The origin of the present Department of Dairy and Animal Science goes back to 1887, when Dr. Henry Armsby came to Penn State as Director of the Agricultural Experiment Station. The department has undergone a number of mergers and name changes. In 1900 Armsby became the first Dean of the School of Agriculture, but resigned in 1904 to devote full time to the Experiment Station and to continue his research in the animal nutrition field. The calorimeter was completed in 1902, and Armsby became director of the newly-formed Institute of Animal Nutrition in 1907. The Institute was reorganized to function as a department in 1933, although the name was retained until 1946 when it officially became the Department of Animal Nutrition.
The Department of Animal Husbandry had been formed about the same time as the Institute (1907) with Thomas Mairs as head. Poultry studies were initially a part of the department, but a separate Department of Poultry Husbandry was formed in 1920. Dr. James Shigley joined the Animal Husbandry department and established a pre-vet curriculum in 1923. He continued in that role until 1953, at which time a Department of Veterinary Science was established. The Departments of Animal Nutrition and Animal Husbandry merged in 1960. The new Department of Animal Industry was headed by Russell C. Miller. Five years later, Thomas B. King became department head, and the name was once again changed to Department of Animal Science.
The Dairy Husbandry department was formed in 1905 and in 1954 was renamed the Department of Dairy Science. Almost from the beginning, the department offered two courses of study: dairy manufacturing and dairy production. Both options were available to students until 1975. At that time, the dairy manufacturing faculty joined with selected faculty from animal science, poultry science, horticulture, and home economics/human development to form the new Department of Food Science. In 1976 the dairy production faculty was merged with that of animal science, becoming the Department of Dairy and Animal Science, under the leadership of B. R. Baumgardt.
Evolution of the Department of Dairy and Animal Science illustrates how the forerunners of the present Department of Dairy and Animal Science came together over the years, along with the names of the heads of their respective departments.