Dr. Daniel Schaefer (’71) is the 2022 Distinguished Alumni Award Recipient

Dr. Dan Schaefer

University of Wisconsin Professor Emeritus Daniel M. Schaefer, PhD, a 1971 Bethany graduate, is the 2022 Bethany Lutheran College Distinguished Alumni Award recipient. Dr. Schaefer is regarded as an expert and leader in meat and animal sciences.

Schaefer grew up on a livestock and poultry farm. The experience and work on the farm piqued his interest and served as the impetus to eventually study animal science. After receiving his associate in arts degree from Bethany, he went to the University of Wisconsin-Madison (UW), where he completed bachelors and master’s programs in meat and animal science. He then earned a doctor of philosophy (PhD) degree from the University of Illinois-Urbana in nutritional sciences with a joint emphasis on ruminant nutrition and rumen bacteriology.

Schaefer did research and taught at Purdue University from 1979 to 1981 before joining the faculty at UW-Madison in the Meat and Animal Science Department. At UW-Madison, he was elected to chair the department in 1999 and continued until 2016, except for sixteen months when he served as the Interim Associate Dean for Undergraduate Programs in the College of Agricultural and Life Sciences (CALS). In 2007, the Animal Sciences Department he led was ranked number one in the field of animal sciences in the U.S. based on the faculty scholarly productivity index calculated by Academic Analytics for the Chronicle of Higher Education. Also, Schaefer served as the faculty lead for the UW-Madison Foundation’s and Meat Science Advisory Committee’s efforts which resulted in the Department being able to build the $56 million Meat Science & Animal Biologics Discovery Building of which he was the founding Director. After completing forty years in academia and retiring as a faculty member, he was awarded with the title of Professor Emeritus of Animal Sciences.

On top of teaching numerous courses and advising many undergraduate, graduate, and post-doctoral students over the years, Schaefer provided extensive research support to several agricultural agencies, wrote hundreds of papers and submissions for publications, and was invited to present on many topics in meat and animal sciences throughout the nation and internationally. Of particular note, in 1989, Schaefer was a part of a team of scientists that developed a method to improve pigment and lipid stability in Holstein steer beef by dietary supplementation with vitamin E. This allows beef to retain the appealing red color longer while being displayed in a retail setting

Schaefer has also received numerous honors and awards for his work over the years. In 2009, he received the CALS Spitze Land Grant Faculty Award for Excellence, which is given to a faculty member whose integration of outstanding efforts in teaching, research, extension, and outreach exemplify the land grant mission. In 2020, he was inducted as a Fellow of the American Society of Animal Science, which recognizes distinguished service to animal science and the livestock industry.

Schaefer was born in Kewaskum, Wisconsin. His parents were Raymond, a farmer, and Agnes, a school teacher. He makes his home in Madison, Wisconsin, with his wife Gail of 47 years, and they have two children together, Jeremy and Mary. He is a member of Peace Thru Christ Lutheran Church (CLC), where he has served on several committees, including Council President.

Dr. Schaefer will be officially recognized as the 2022 Distinguished Alumni Award recipient at the Bethany Spring Commencement Ceremony on Friday, May 13, 2022, when he will address the graduating class and guests.

A complete listing of all past recipients of the Distinguished Alumni Award can be found by following this link.