Temple Grandin’s worldwide reputation as a leader in the field of humane animal handing and autism advocacy has propelled her into one of the nation’s most distinguished groups–the American Academy of Arts and Sciences. The Colorado State University professor of animal sciences was elected to American Academy among 213 new members announced April 20 in Cambridge, Massachusettes.
Grandin is an internationally recognized leader in animal handling innovations, and her expertise has been utilized by major corporations such as Wendy’s International, Burger King, Whole Foods, Chipotle, McDonald’s Corporation as well as the USDA, where she has trained auditors in animal care at livestock processing plants.
Her approach to animal welfare is informed by Grandin’s own experiences with autism and through her perspective as a “visual thinker.” She is a tireless advocate for autism awareness, a role model for individuals across the autism spectrum, and an inspiration for families who have loved ones diagnosed with autism. Despite labels that were put on her at an early age, Grandin has accomplished much throughout her career, including earning her doctoral degree, authoring a New York Times bestseller, Animals in Translation, and having the story of her life depicted in HBO’s Temple Grandin, a film for which she was a consultant.
“Temple Grandin is a one-in-a-billion mind, and to include her as an autistic person in this group of esteemed scholars is an honor to her and to human potential,” said Colorado State University President Tony Frank. “We’re proud to include her unique and insightful mind among our faculty ranks.”
Grandin is the third member of the CSU faculty to be elected to the American Academy. Biologist Diana Wall was inducted as a member of the Class of 2014; the late Marshall Fixman was the first inducted, in 1970. Pulitzer Prize-winning poet Yusef Komunyakaa, an alumnus of the CSU College of Liberal Arts, is also part of the American Academy Class of 2016.
Since its founding in 1780, the American Academy has served the nation as a champion of scholarship, civil dialogue, and useful knowledge. As one of the nation’s oldest learned societies and independent policy research centers, the Academy convenes leaders from the academic, business, and government sectors to address critical challenges facing our global society. Its ranks include winners of the Nobel Prize and the Pulitzer Prize as well as Grammy, Oscar, Emmy and Tony Award winners, and other lauded intellectuals such as George Washington, Ralph Waldo Emerson, Margaret Mead and Martin Luther King, Jr.
In addition to delivering a multitude of public talks and presentations, Grandin has also appeared in popular media outlets such as 20/20, 48 Hours, Larry King Live, 60 Minutes, The New York Times, Forbes, and U.S. News and World Report. In 2010, Time named her one of the “100 Most Influential People” and her namesake film debuted that same year. She also delivered a TED Talk in 2010 on “The World Needs all Kinds of Minds.” Grandin’s visibility on the world stage has increased autism awareness and understanding in ways that are truly without precedent.
“To see Temple Grandin included among such a distinguished group of scientists, writers, artists and civic leaders speaks to the power of her scholarship and the transformative nature of her autism advocacy,” said Ajay Menon, dean of the CSU College of Agricultural Sciences. “She has forever changed the way we understand the relationship between people and animals through her research and her own personal experiences, and she has left an indelible mark on the field of animal sciences, the colleagues she works with, and the students she has mentored.”
“I am both honored and humbled to be included in such a distinguished group,” said Grandin. “As I looked down the list of members both past and present, I was awed by the impact of their work and hope that my contributions will have as much influence as theirs.”
The Academy’s membership of 4,600 Fellows and 600 Foreign Honorary Members includes many of the most accomplished scholars and practitioners worldwide. Through studies, publications, and programs on the Humanities, Arts, and Education; Science, Engineering, and Technology; Global Security and International Affairs; and American Institutions and the Public Good, the Academy provides authoritative and nonpartisan policy advice to decision-makers in government, academia, and the private sector. For more information, visit the American Academy website.