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Henning Endowment Will Enrich Meat Science Programs

Posted: March 22, 2013

The William R. Henning Meat Science Enrichment Fund will provide funds for teaching, research and extension science programs in meat science.

The William R. Henning Meat Science Enrichment Fund has been established at Penn State's College of Agricultural Sciences in honor of Dr. William R. Henning, Professor Emeritus, Department of Animal Science, to provide funds for teaching, research and extension programs in meat science.

The fund was created in lieu of gifts at Henning's retirement in 2006 to honor his contributions to the meat industry in Pennsylvania and nationally. Funds may be used by students and/or faculty to support research, travel costs associated with competitions and special teaching and learning projects that benefit students. This is the first endowment to the meat science program.

Dr. Terry Etherton, Head of the Department of Animal Science, said, "We are absolutely delighted with this contribution that will allow us to provide additional opportunities for our faculty and student in meat science. Dr. Henning's contributions to the meat industry have been tremendously valuable, and this endowment will ensure that the activities that support our premier curriculum can continue. We are very grateful for this gift."

Henning received a B.S. degree in Animal Science with a minor in chemistry from Western Illinois University in 1968. He earned both his M.S. and Ph.D. in Animal Science from the University of Kentucky.

Henning said, "I am pleased that this fund will support students in the very important activities that enrich their collegiate experience and contribute so much to the broader agricultural community. Coaching teams and being part of the faculty has been such a meaningful part of my life, and it gives me pleasure to make further opportunities available."

He joined the Penn State faculty in 1983 as an Extension Specialist and Coach of the Meats Judging Team. He not only coached the collegiate team, but also worked closely with 4-H and FFA judging teams in Pennsylvania and throughout the northeast. He wrote a section about veal evaluation in the Meat Evaluation Handbook for judges and taught live animal carcass evaluation. Henning was instrumental in helping establish the Pennsylvania Farm Show Scholarship Foundation, which has awarded $1 million in scholarships in its 20-year history.

Well-known as an extension meat specialist, Henning presented educational programs on meat quality and food safety, and also offered training in food safety and HACCP requirements in Pennsylvania and the East Coast. Henning worked closely with the Pennsylvania Beef Council and the Pennsylvania Pork Council in developing educational programs for producers, consumers, home economists, and Registered Dietitians. Henning has provided leadership in developing educational programs for the Pennsylvania Association of Meat Processors, the Eastern Meat Packers Association, the American Association of Meat Processors and the National Cattlemen's Beef Association where he served on the Beef Quality Assurance Advisory committee and helped train beef specialists across the country in Dairy Beef Quality Assurance.

After retiring from Penn State, he has continued to contribute to the industry as a private consultant, working extensively with small meat plants throughout the region and continuing to interact with industry groups having a strong and positive influence.  He continues to serve on the Board of Directors for the American Meat Science Foundation and the PA Farm Show Scholarship Foundation.

In 2012, the American Meat Science Association (AMSA) honored Henning with the Intercollegiate Meat Judging Meritorious Service Award, awarded for "outstanding contributions or service to the Intercollegiate Meat judging program."

The Meat Science Enrichment Fund's initial principal of $25,000 has been contributed by meat industry supporters and by friends and family of William R. Henning.  Additional contributions may be made by interested persons or organizations by contacting the College of Agricultural Sciences Development Office at 814-863-1373.