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Sheep center will honor Copenhaver

Spectrum Volume 18 Issue 32 - May 30, 1996

Virginia Tech's sheep center has been named in honor of Jackson S. Copenhaver, a retired professor of animal science whose work helped establish Virginia's sheep industry as one of the largest and most productive in the Eastern U.S.

In approving the naming of the center, the university's Board of Visitors noted "Jack Copenhaver's enduring contributions to Virginia Tech's sheep programs, to past, present, and future generations of students, and to the United States sheep industry."

The sheep center currently manages 900 ewes, rams, and lambs. It supports undergraduate and graduate teaching programs in the College of Agriculture and Life Sciences, as well as teaching programs for the Virginia-Maryland Regional College of Veterinary Medicine.

"The center maintains a very good balance between teaching and research," said Gregory Lewis, associate professor of animal and poultry science and faculty supervisor of the center. "We also use the sheep facility for Extension adult education programs."

Research being conducted there focuses on improving the reproductive performance of sheep, he said. The research is being conducted by Lewis, and by animal and poultry science professors David R. Notter and Steven H. Umberger.

Copenhaver, a Blacksburg resident, retired in 1985 after 39 years on the faculty of the university's department of animal science. In addition to his contribution to the state's sheep industry, he is credited with influencing generations of students at the university.

He graduated from Virginia Tech in 1942, and after managing several purebred Angus farms, joined the university's faculty in 1946.

Copenhaver is credited with developing Virginia Tech's purebred sheep flock and with contributing significantly to the sheep research program. His research into early weaning of lambs and multiple lambing helped producers breed more lambs that were larger and healthier.

Copenhaver is also credited with developing the annual Eastern Stud Ram Sale in Virginia, ram testing for weight and growth, Animal Industry Day, and animal production labs.

He established a Ram Endowment for the purchase of purebred rams at the sheep center, and he established the Jack S. Copenhaver Scholarship Endowment for undergraduate students in the department of animal and poultry science at Virginia Tech.