News & Stories
January 25, 2022

Inspiring achievement in animal science

Building dedication heralds new opportunities in animal science

By Debbie Rasure


Berry family and friends celebrated the culmination of a long-held dream when they gathered in October for the official dedication of a new teaching and research facility designed to meet the needs of the college’s stellar animal science program.

The $15.7 million, donor-funded facility was the final project of the LifeReady Campaign, which closed last year after generating more than $135 million in gifts for scholarships, facilities and programs benefitting Berry students.

During the dedication ceremony for Berry’s newest academic building, Board of Trustees Chair Rick Gilbert (77c) surprised President Steve Briggs and his wife, Brenda, with a plaque recognizing their longtime devotion to the college and its students to be displayed in the new structure. Many leadership gifts to the project honored the couple’s commitment to Berry.



Construction began in May 2020 on the 23,000-square-foot animal science facility and was completed in time for the 2021-22 academic year. Key features include two 42-seat “Technology Enabled Active Learning” classrooms and a 54-seat tiered classroom; specialized teaching labs for animal science, microbiology, anatomy and physiology, and necropsy; four research labs, including a large collaborative laboratory space; a student workspace; and common areas to promote interaction among faculty, staff and students across the sciences.

Located adjacent to the McAllister Hall science center in the academic core of campus, the new building provides a home befitting Berry’s largest and most distinctive major, which previously was housed in the aging Westcott Building on the far side of the Ford Complex.

Already, the spacious and well-appointed facility is inspiring unique research collaborations, just as it was intended.

Dr. Judith Wilson, professor and department chair of animal science, reports that new partnerships have begun across Berry’s scientific disciplines, among animal science faculty and with outside collaborators. As an example, she pointed to her own research collaboration involving Associate Professor of Animal Science Dr. Sunday Peters and Dr. Carly Turner-Garcia (08C), a program alumna who now is a practicing veterinarian in Oklahoma.

“The new animal science building has been an excellent addition to an outstanding program,” Wilson said. “As we transition into our research laboratories, we are seeing an extension of teamwork within the animal science department as faculty share their areas of expertise with one another to build some exciting new areas of research, with support from student research assistants.”

Junior animal science major Brooke Appelbaum echoed Wilson’s enthusiasm, describing the new building’s impact on students as highly positive.

“The new facility allows us to delve further into the hands-on aspect of the animal science major,” Appelbaum stated. “Having the equipment, space and support to learn diagnostic techniques, advanced skills, and other practical applications has unified the lecture and laboratory components of my classes like never before.”

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