On the eve of the 2016 Ag Day, an honor that has been a tradition in Colorado State University’s Department of Animal Sciences was bestowed on two CSU alumni who have helped numerous equine sciences students pursue industry careers.
Vaughn and Jill Cook
Vaughn and Jill Cook, the former owners of Royal Vista Equine, Inc., received the 2016 Livestock Leader Award in recognition of their leadership in the field of equine reproduction and their commitment to hiring CSU graduates.
Royal Vista Equine was a commercial embryo transfer and equine reproductive center based in Colorado that the Cooks founded in 1989 and operated until they retired and the company became Vista Equine Colorado, LLC.
Both are CSU alumni and remain active within the equine industry. Vaughn and Jill earned bachelor’s degrees in animal science in 1974 and 1980, respectively, and Jill earned a DVM from CSU in 1990. The Cooks had roles in managing CSU’s Equine Reproduction Laboratory; Vaughn is director at large of the American Quarter Horse Association; and Jill serves as director of the Rocky Mountain Quarter Horse Foundation and as a member of the Colorado Horse Development Authority.
Advancing the equine reproduction industry
“It is so wonderful to see the horse recognized in this way,” said Vaughn. “For generations, horses have played an essential role in agriculture, and we have been privileged to play a role in advancing the equine reproduction industry.”
Royal Vista Equine has long been a destination for CSU graduates — the majority of their employees have come from CSU.
“The fact that the Cooks were and are so committed to hiring our graduates has further positioned our Equine Sciences program as one of the leading equine programs in the country,” said Kevin Pond, head of the Department of Animal Sciences. “A hallmark of an outstanding program is not just cutting-edge research and innovative teaching – it is our ability to place graduates in jobs beyond CSU, and the Cooks have been instrumental in helping us do that.”