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Oklahoma State University
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Advanced Degree Graduate of Distinction

Advanced Degree Graduate of Distinction

Advanced Degree Graduate of Distinction Award Recipients 2017

This award recognizes those recipients with M.S. and Ph.D. degrees in the Animal Science Department who have attained singular professional excellence in their field of Animal Agriculture. Jerry Gresham and David Secrist received this award in 2017.

Jerry Gresham, PH.D.

Dr. Gresham was raised on a cotton and wheat farm near Headrick, Oklahoma.  He graduated from Altus High School in 1961, where he was an officer in FFA and showed cattle and hogs.  He graduated in Animal Science from Oklahoma State University in 1965.   Dr. Gresham was also an ROTC Distinguished Military Graduate with a Regular Army Commission in the Quartermaster Corps and served four years in the Army.  He was an Armor Tank Commander at Fort Hood, Texas, and received the Army Commendation Medal.  Dr. Gresham served in Vietnam and received the Bronze Star for Meritorious Service and the Vietnam Service Medal.  When Dr. Gresham returned to the States, he served as Commissary Officer at Fort Sill, Oklahoma, until he resigned his commission in 1969.

Dr. Gresham attended graduate school at Oklahoma State University from 1969 to 1973 and obtained his Masters and Ph.D. degrees in Meat Science.   He began his teaching career at the University of Tennessee at Martin in 1973 as Assistant Professor of Animal Science, and progressed to Associate Professor, Professor, Department Chair, and Interim Dean.   During his career, Dr. Gresham coached the Livestock Judging Team for 20 years and was also the Block and Bridle Club Advisor.  During his tenure at UT Martin, he received the Outstanding Advisor Award, the Cunningham Teacher/Scholar Award, and the UT National Alumni Association Distinguished Service Professorship.  As a special recognition, Dr. Gresham was appointed to the Tennessee Agricultural Hall of Fame Board by Governor Bill Bredesen.

Dr. Gresham served as Director of the Tennessee Governor’s School for the Agricultural Sciences from 2004 – 2009.  This was one of three in the United States at that time.

Dr. Gresham’s research interest was in Beef Cattle Ultrasound.  He served as a Consultant with Pie Medical of Maastrict, Netherlands and developed Pie Medical ultrasound technology for food animals for marbling estimation.  He also provided ultrasound consulting internationally in Venezuela, Chile, Uruguay, Argentina, Brazil, South Korea, Japan, Australia, New Zealand, Switzerland, Norway, and Belgium.   Dr. Gresham served as a consultant for Hallstrom Cattle Company in Australia where he supervised the first Operator Certification Program in Australia.   He also was a consultant for the Norwegian Beef Breeders Association and implemented technology for low intramuscular fat estimation in low fat cattle.

Dr. Gresham, Professor Emeritus of Animal Science, fought tirelessly to establish a four-year training program in Veterinary Health Technology at the University of Tennessee at Martin.  The primary classroom in the newly renovated building housing this program was named in his honor in April of 2016.  His commitment to the growth and development of experiential learning opportunities for agriculture students led to the establishment of the UT Martin teaching and demonstration farm and, ultimately, the Veterinary Health Technology Program.

Dr. Gresham has also been heavily involved in the community of Martin, serving as Little League President and Coach, organizing the Martin Youth Soccer Program, Martin Rotary Club President, and a Co-Founder and Chair of the Tennessee Soybean Festival.

Dr. Gresham is married to Carolyn Perrin Gresham.  The Greshams have two children:  Darryl, an attorney in the law firm of Allen, Summers, Simpson, Lillie and Gresham.  He and his wife Sarah, and grandchildren Sydney and Charlie live in Memphis.  Their daughter, Darcia, is an accountant and she lives in Nashville.  Darcia serves as Vice President and Treasurer of Financial Reporting and Internal Audit for American Home Patient in Brentwood, Tennessee.

David Secrist, PH.D.

Dr. David S. Secrist was raised in an Air Force family, principally in San Antonio, Texas.  He has deep roots in the Mountain West and, from an early age, spent summers working on a family cattle and sheep ranch near Grouse Creek, Utah.  His love of the outdoors and the livestock business, led him to Utah State University, where he completed a B.S. degree in Animal Science followed by an M.S. in Ruminant Nutrition (1988 and 1990).

Following his post-graduate work at Utah State, David took a position managing a small cow-calf operation in Northwestern Utah.  During this three-year period (1990-93), he implemented an A.I. program, improved the weaning percentage and weaning weights.

In the fall of 1993, Secrist began a doctorate program at Oklahoma State University under the direction of Drs. Fred Owens, Gerald Horn and Don Gill.  His research focused on feedlot nutrition, with particular emphasis on grain processing. Educational and cooperative research opportunities at Oklahoma State opened many doors.  An opportunity to work with Dr. Bob Lake and Dr. Bob Smith provided great learning opportunities and career-long mentorships.

In January of 1996, David took a technical services position with Farmland Industries.  Over the next five years, he did nutritional work with feedlots and large cow/calf operations across seven states.  David was named “Feed Division Employee of the Year” in 1997.  He worked to develop the Farmland Beef Alliance program, linking producers to the feedyard and packing plant in an effort to supply high quality cattle to a newly-formed branded product.

Dr. Secrist joined Agri Beef, Inc. in January of 2001, where he started as an operations manager at a large feeding operation in Moses Lake, WA.  He was quickly promoted to General Manager and oversaw major pen renovations and construction of a finished feed mill.  While at Agri Beef, David was involved in the transition from a cattle feeding company to an integrated food business, as Agri Beef entered the processing and branded beef arena.  He was integral in improving processes and developing people, while managing the large feedyard business.  David served as President of the Washington Cattle Feeders’ Association for two years and was named “Cattle Feeder of the Year” in 2007 for contributions to the industry in the Northwest.

After a very productive eight years at Agri Beef, Dr. Secrist was given the opportunity to join AgReserves, Inc. in April of 2009.  ARI, also known as Deseret Ranches, has large cow/calf and stocker operations across the U.S. and Canada.  They brought David on board to lead the company into an integrated program with the purchase of a feedyard and eventually, development of a branded beef product.  David was initially charged with purchasing a feedyard and operations in Kansas, in addition to serving as General Manager of a large scale dairy and farming operation in Utah.  In 2014, he was named the Vice President of Cattle Operations, with oversight of cow/calf, stocker, feedlot and dairy operations across 8 states and provinces in the Western U.S. and Canada.  David is still heavily involved in cattle operations, in addition to working on branded product development.

Dr. Secrist credits blessings from the Lord and a great wife for any success that has come his way.  He and his wife Julie have been married for thirty-two years.  They have five children and six grandchildren.   Julie’s support, sacrifice and never-ending patience have been the key to the personal and professional success achieved by the Secrist Family.  She and their five children have been along for the ride every step of the way.

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