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A tradition of excellence: Dave Winston and the Department of Dairy Science


March 16, 2018--Mahatma Gandhi once said " In a gentle way, you can shake the world". This statement describes Dave Winston as an educator and friend. His quiet leadership holds the Dairy Science Department together and has impacted all the students that have passed through the department in last thirty years. Please join us in congratulating Dave on his THIRTY YEAR anniversary with VT. He is a two-time alumnus of the dairy science department, completing both his bachelor's & master's degrees in 1987 & 1998 respectively. Following is his bio from the 2015-16 Outstanding Faculty Service for the Virginia Tech College of Agriculture and Life Sciences.

Winston serves as the 4-H Youth Dairy Scientist in the Department of Dairy Science and is an expert in animal management systems and youth development. In his role, he serves as a member of the Virginia Cooperative Extension 4-H Positive Youth Development Program Team and on the Council for Youth Development. Nationally he represents Virginia 4-H as a planning committee member for National 4-H Dairy Conference. Since 2002 he has coached four National Champion 4-H Dairy Quiz Bowl Teams.

Beyond his impact on the youth of Virginia, he teaches courses in dairy science and industry, dairy information systems, and graduate seminar. He also leads the department’s scholarship committee awarding more than $80,000 annually. A significant portion of the scholarship funds are raised during the annual Hokie Cow Classic Golf Tournament which he plays a significant role in planning and executing.

He has served as the Virginia Tech Dairy Club advisor for 19 years. Advising the Dairy Club is not for the faint of heart. Seventy-five members strong, they are one of the most active clubs in the college, if not at the university. The club is known by every Hokie football and basketball fan for their milkshakes – one would be hard pressed to find a member of the CALS community who hasn’t stopped by on their way through the concourses of Lane Stadium and Cassell Coliseum to say hello and purchase their milkshake before they run out. The club honored Dave in 2006 by dedicating their annual yearbook, the Milky Way, in his name.

Dairy Club President Elizabeth Davis says, “His guidance and advice as an advisor has helped strengthen the club. He always makes himself available to students no matter if they need help with school, clubs, business, or life. He's dedication is to be admired.”

Winston serves in leadership roles within a multitude of regional and national professional organizations such as the North American and Southern Regional Intercollegiate Dairy Challenges, which allow dairy science students to apply theory and learning to a real-world dairy while working as part of a team.

Dave served many years on the College’s Diversity Council where he held positions of leadership and organized discussion groups and events. He continues to represent the college on university committees and task forces for diversity initiatives at the university

In 2008, he received the Diversity Enhancement Award established in 2006 by the CALS Diversity Council to recognize outstanding diversity accomplishments of faculty, staff, and students in the college. He is also an immensely valued member of the CALS Alumni Organization board of directors serving as dairy science’s department representative.

When he isn’t busy helping develop young minds and serving the institution, he is a volunteer docent at Glencoe Museum house in Radford. He also assists with special events organized by the Radford Heritage Foundation.

“It has to be a source of great pride when David hears, ‘I came to Virginia Tech and majored in dairy science because of David Winston,’ ” said Department Head and Horace E. and Elizabeth F. Alphin Professor of Dairy Science Mike Akers. “Throughout his career he has had a positive impact on literally hundreds of students formally in his college classes and though a myriad of youth 4-H, FFA, and judging activities. I think of David as the Johnny Apple Seed of Dairy Science. His impact has been wider and further reaching than he will probably ever really appreciate.”