Companion Animal Biology and Humane Education


History of the Companion Animal Program


Dr. D. E. Becker hires Dr. Jim Corbin from Ralston Purina to establish the first companion animal biology program in the nation in a Department of Animal Sciences

  • Companion Animal Management (ANSC 207) established
  • Biennial Field Trip (ANSC 299) begins
  • Companion Animal Science Option included in the undergraduate curriculum
  • Kennel and cattery built on the South Farms for research
  • Collaborative research conducted with others inside and outside the department


Dr. Gail Czarnecki-Maulden continues the program upon Dr. Corbin’s retirement

  • Merger of Department of Animal Sciences and Department of Dairy Science in 1985 - abolishment of the companion animal undergraduate option
  • New animal care guidelines necessitate new animal facilities. Lack of funds prevents construction and Dr. Czarnecki-Maulden departs to Friskies.


Linda P. Case hired as a lecturer to lead the companion animal undergraduate teaching program. In 2004, Case pursues a full-time consulting career while maintaining a teaching appointment in the department.

  • Dr. George C. Fahey, Jr. and Dr. Neal R. Merchen restart the effort in companion animal nutrition research. In 2003, Dr. Merchen becomes the Head of the Department of Animal Sciences.
  • Companion, Recreational, and Laboratory Animal Science option added to undergraduate curriculum
  • New course offerings:
  • Animal care facility in Edwin R. Madigan Laboratory (ERML) established


ACES Short-term Investment Capital for Instruction allows for continued expansion of the companion animal program with the addition of teaching associate Susan Helmink.

  • Humane Education with Companion Animals (ANSC 215) is established.
  • Humane Education Seminar presented annually beginning in 1999.


Continued expansion of the companion animal program brings additional personnel.

  • Dr. Kelly Swanson assumed the position of Assistant Professor of Comparative Nutrition in the Department of Animal Sciences with partial emphasis on companion animals.
  • Amy S. Lopez hired as a lecturer for the companion animal program when Linda Case reduced her teaching appointment to pursue a full-time consulting career.
  • Dr. Amy Fischer joined the Department as a Teaching Associate and Extension Specialist in Companion Animal Biology and Humane Education. This is the University’s first companion animal-related Extension appointment.


  •  Dr. Kelly Swanson is awarded "Faculty Fellow" by the  National Center for Supercomputing Applications (NCSA), University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign.
  • Dr. Kelly Swanson is awared by North Dakota State University with the "Alumni Horizon Award."


Dr. Swanson is named to the University of Illinois ‘List of Teachers Ranked as Excellent by Their Students’ for instruction of ANSC 422 (Companion Animal Nutrition; semesters: spring of 2007, 2008, 2009, 2010, 2011, and 2012), ANSC 523 (Techniques in Animal Nutrition; semester: fall of 2010), NUTR 510 (Gastrointestinal Fermentation and Dietary Fiber; semester: fall of 2010), and VM 604 (Nutrition module of Structure and Function III; semester: spring of 2012)


  •  Dr. Swanson is the recipient of the ILSI North America Future Leader Award.


Dr. Ryan Dilger joined the group as an Assistant Professor of the Comparative Animal Nutrition in the Department of Animal Sciences.

Dr. Swanson is awarded with the Bio Serv Award in Experimental Animal Nutrition from the American Society of Nutrition and the Teacher Fellow Award from the North American Colleges and Teachers of Agriculture (NACTA).


Dr. Amy Fischer received two awards on Teaching Excelence:

  • ACES Teaching Associate Teaching Award

  • NACTA Teacher Fellow Award