The American Meat Science Association (AMSA) is excited to announce that Dr. John Henson is the recipient of the 2018 Distinguished Teaching Award. The award was established to recognize excellence in the teaching of undergraduate and graduate meat science courses and the impact on the lives of those students in a highly positive manner. The award is sponsored by Hawkins, Inc. Dr. Henson will be honored at a special awards banquet at the AMSA 71st Reciprocal Meat Conference on Tuesday, June 26, 2018 in Kansas City, Missouri.
Dr. John Henson was born and raised in Avenal, a small town in central California. He was very active in the FFA in high school, showing cattle and judging livestock. This led him to West Hills Community College where he received his associate degree in animal science and judged on both the livestock and meats judging teams. Dr. Henson then earned his B.S. at California State University, Fresno while working at the university sheep unit and meats lab. He continued his education at University of Nebraska – Lincoln (M.S.) and South Dakota State University (Ph.D.).
Dr. Henson began his professional career at Busseto Foods in Fresno, California where he served as the plant manager. In 2000, he became a member of the faculty in the Department of Animal Science at California State University, Fresno. After 18 years of teaching and advising, he has built an impressive meat science program worthy of national recognition. At Fresno State, the motto is ‘learn by doing’ and this is exactly how Dr. Henson approaches his program. In 2016 Dr. Henson, in conjunction with Dr. Dana Hanson at North Carolina State University, created and implemented the Salumi 101 course. With the support of AMSA and other collaborating universities, the course is now an annual event.
In 2012, Dr. Henson was awarded the Nicolas Salgo Outstanding Teacher Award and the North American Colleges and Teachers of Agriculture (NACTA) Teaching Award of Merit. Students consistently rank Dr. Henson as one of the best teachers at Fresno State. In his mind, he is successful only if his students excel and are successful. In the past, many of his students have competed at the highest level in various competitions across the country. If meat science students recognize their opportunity at Fresno State, they are provided with a tremendous educational experience.