Colorado State celebrates Temple Grandin’s 70th birthday
On a beautiful Colorado summer evening, hundreds of students, alumni, university leadership, industry leaders, colleagues and friends gathered to wish a happy 70th birthday to an extraordinary person, Temple Grandin.
“We have people from 17 states and Canada here today,” said Kevin Pond, head of the Department of Animal Sciences at Colorado State University, at the celebration on the Monfort Quad. “Everyone is here today to celebrate Temple, her achievements and her 70th birthday.”
Grandin, a professor in the Department of Animal Sciences, a renowned animal behaviorist, and a pioneering advocate for autism awareness, is known worldwide for her contributions to the livestock industry. Her insights into animal behavior have shaped innovative approaches to livestock handling, including methods and designs for humane slaughter that have become the industry standard.
‘A giant force for good’
“We are here to celebrate a special colleague, a mentor, a friend, a researcher, an activist, a change agent. All simply put, a giant force for good, Temple Grandin,” said Ajay Menon, dean of CSU’s College of Agricultural Sciences. “I want to pay tribute to Temple’s impact on behalf of those whose voices were silenced, until she came along. Temple helped convey the mental processes of individuals with autism, in a manner few could. As a result, Temple has helped the world find more sources of inspiration.”
Grandin’s life and work has revolutionized the study of autism, reflected in the title of her Ted Talk: “The World Needs All Kinds of Minds.”
A tremendous inspiration
CSU President Tony Frank also offered birthday wishes to Grandin, whom he called “a friend and a tremendous inspiration to people worldwide.”
Of her birthday party, Grandin said, “It started out as something really small, and grew into something really big, and I really, really appreciate it.”
For the gathered crowd, Grandin gave remarks on a lifelong passion: advocating for autism awareness and resources.
Among party attendees was Mick Jackson, who directed the critically acclaimed 2010 HBO movie “Temple Grandin.” The movie won seven Emmy Awards, including the accolade of Outstanding Director.
“To our delight, and gratitude, she gave me and the writer, Chris Monger, and the great Claire Danes, who plays her, almost unlimited access to her thoughts, her remembrances and so many diagrams that we used in the movie,” Jackson said. “The movie became a work of commitment for the cast and crew. They were all inspired by Temple and her story.”
Temple’s Grand Ale
For the momentous occasion, a special beer was brewed in Grandin’s honor by Horse & Dragon Brewing Company of Fort Collins. Temple’s Grand Ale is a light caramel cream ale that Grandin helped develop with the brewery.
“We hope that, as requested, it makes a picture of an ice cream cone pop right into her head,” said Horse & Dragon owner Carol Cochran.
The ale debuted at Grandin’s party, but will now be available to the public at CSU’s Aspen Grille, Ramskeller Pub & Grub, The Mayor of Old Town, William Oliver’s Publick House and the Horse & Dragon Tap Room.
Charcuterie appetizers were provided by Niman Ranch, and CSU’s Meat Judging Team provided a birthday barbecue dinner. Former and current graduate students sang happy birthday before cutting the cake.
Impact through her students
“Temple makes an impact each day through her students,” Menon said. “She sponsors many of these students through scholarships and is a lifelong friend to them. So, it was not a surprise when I received an email from one of her students, wanting to put together a big birthday celebration with the help of many other current and former students.”
National Women’s Hall of Fame
On Sept. 16, Grandin will be inducted into the National Women’s Hall of Fame, along with only nine other honorees this year, including Eaton, Colo., native Lt. Gen. Carol Mutter.
In 2010, Grandin was honored in Time magazine’s “100 Most Influential People in the World,” and in 2016 she was inducted into the American Academy of Arts and Sciences. ❖