Apr 062010
 
Authors: Justyna Tomtas

The Fort Collins mayor proclaimed April 6 as “Temple Grandin Day” in recognition of the CSU professor’s contributions to the understanding and treatment of autism and improving conditions at large livestock processing plants.

Hutchinson said the proclamation is a celebratory way to acknowledge the remarkable work Grandin has done for the community and the world at large.

“Here’s a person who, in Fort Collins at CSU, has just done some remarkable things. She’s the most accomplished and well-known adult with autism in the world,” Hutchinson said. “She’s done some very interesting work in more humane handling of livestock.”

Grandin, an autistic professor and author of the best-selling book, “The Way I See It: A personal Look at Autism and Aspergers,” is recognized worldwide for her work in autism advocacy and her work revolutionizing the harvesting of food animals in a humane way.

Grandin designed a system for handling cattle in an ethical manner. Now these facilities can be found all over the world.

Nancy Irlbeck, the associate dean of the College of Agricultural Sciences and a colleague of Grandin, described Grandin as an amazing woman who has influenced the world.

“Her work has opened doors in the world of autism and created a more humane production of harvesting food animals,” Irlbeck said. “Temple came through the system when being a woman in a very male dominated field was difficult. Not only was she a woman, but she was autistic. By listening to her story, she gives hope.”

Katie Boeder, the development coordinator for the College of Agricultural Sciences, agreed, describing Grandin as a strong figure in the animal science field and autistic community. She said that Grandin is a local celebrity.

“Temple’s story is one of overcoming extreme obstacles to make a very big change in the world. It’s empowering, motivating and inspirational. It says that anyone at any point in their lives can be a positive influence on the world,” Boeder said.

Boeder said Temple’s passion for her work has allowed people to shed light on topics that people aren’t necessarily comfortable talking about, whether it’s the treatment of animals or the misrepresentation of autism.

“Having her as part of the conversation brings forward a positive progress,” Boeder said. “Temple is so passionate about what she’s doing. That’s why having her here at CSU makes CSU a place to have those types of difficult discussions,” Boeder said.

Staff writer Justyna Tomtas can be reached at news@collegian.com.

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