PULLMAN, Wash. — Gladys Christian, the first woman graduate of the
department of animal husbandry (1944) at Washington State University,
received WSU’s Alumni Achievement Award June 7 at her home in Aloha,
She was cited “for extraordinary accomplishments in animal science research
… and for paving the way for women to be successful students and
professionals in agricultural fields.”
Christian helped put herself through college by shoveling out the stables in
WSU’s old beef cattle barn, now the Lewis Alumni Centre. She won many
awards showing animals as a member of the Beef Cattle Team, and helped with
the breeding and care of horses at WSU’s Hilltop Stables. Following
graduation she stayed on at WSU, where she organized and taught breeding,
training, shoeing and horse health management at the stables.
Later, she was employed by a racetrack veterinarian and did cancer research at
the University of Oregon Health Sciences Center and at the Kettering Cancer
Research Center in Ohio. She also managed a 3,300-acre wheat and cattle ranch
on the Snake River.
Christian says she benefited from the hands-on teaching she received at WSU.
In recent years, she initiated a $50,000 endowment fund to scholarships for
deserving female students majoring in animal sciences. In addition, she is the
principal contributor to the Gladys Christian Animal Sciences Equine Teaching
and Extension Endowment Fund.
In recent years, Christian, who is now legally blind, has traveled to Pullman to
present her scholarships to the recipients. While on the campus, she attends
classes and horse club meetings, participates in field trips and interacts with
“I have a great fondness for the WSU faculty and programs that I have come
to know again in the last few years,” she said.