Animal science department to present awards of distinction

Animal Science Awards
Jerry Connealy (left), Michael Lewis (middle) and Al Svajgr will receive awards of distinction at the Animal Science Alumni and Friends Roundup on April 13 in Lincoln.

March 19, 2018

Lincoln, Neb. — The Animal Science Department at the University of Nebraska–Lincoln will present three awards of distinction at their Animal Science Alumni and Friends Roundup on April 13 in Lincoln. The inaugural awards will recognize the outstanding accomplishments of undergraduate and graduate alumni, and the contributions individuals have made to the department through their commitment to the industry.

The recipients will be honored at 6 p.m. at Nebraska Innovation Campus, 2021 Transformation Drive.

Jerry Connealy, BS 1981, of Whitman, will be honored with the undergraduate of distinction award. Over the past 30-plus years, Connealy has developed the leading Angus seedstock herd in Nebraska. Through his visionary leadership and tremendously focused hard work, Connealy Angus has grown from 250 cows to 2500 registered cows, selling over 750 bulls per year. Connealy bulls frequently populate the pages of bull stud catalogs across the country. Nominator Merlyn Nielsen says, Connealy is the epitome of humbleness, not seeking the limelight.

Michael Lewis, Ph.D. 1988, of Blair, will be honored with the graduate of distinction award. While working as a student under Terry Klopfenstein, Lewis developed the NEBRIS data collection system for the university feedlot that is still in use 30 years later. Today, Lewis is vice president and feed segment leader for value-added feed and meal products for Cargill's wet milling facilities. His support of the department has been in the form of feed donations, facility tours and undergraduate training resources. Nominators Galen Erickson and Terry Klopfenstein said the university’s beef and dairy programs are indebted to Cargill and especially, Lewis for the generous financial support. 

Alan (Al) Svajgr, BS 1964, MS 1968, of Cozad, will be recognized with a distinguished service award honoring his outstanding contributions to the department. Svajgr’s record of service to the department and the university is quite impressive and shows his commitment to the institution and its land-grant mission. He has been called upon to give guest lectures, provide tours, sit on advisory committees and more. He has served as president of Agriculture Builders of Nebraska, sat on the chancellor's advisory board, and for the last several years, has provided tremendous financial support for graduate student travel to scientific meetings. Svajgr has been selected as a Block & Bridle Honoree and has been inducted into the Nebraska Cattlemen's Hall of Fame. Nominators say he is always looking for ways to support the university’s mission and has been very effective in those endeavors. 

Tickets to the Animal Science Alumni and Friends Roundup are $30 and can be purchased at

For more information, contact Jennifer Dush at 402-472-3571 or

The Animal Science Department at the University of Nebraska–Lincoln is made up of internationally-recognized faculty who lead programs in breeding and genetics, meat science, non-ruminant and ruminant nutrition, physiology, animal well-being, production and management. To learn more about the department, visit

Jennifer Dush
Animal Science Department

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