Founders Day Medal
George Seidel Jr. to be awarded 2022 Founders Day Medal
story by Nik Olsen
published Feb. 11, 2022
George Seidel Jr. was known internationally as an expert on reproductive physiology whose applied research transformed animal agriculture. At Colorado State University, where Seidel spent his 50-year career, he was also known as a brilliant, kind and hard-working colleague and a generous mentor.
Seidel, who came to CSU in 1971 and remained an active and contributing member of the College of Veterinary Medicine and Biomedical Sciences until his passing in September 2021, will be awarded the 2022 Founders Day Medal. In announcing Seidel’s selection for the award, President Joyce McConnell noted that his service and contributions to the university and the larger community it serves had a lasting, transformative impact on the institution.
“George’s incredible research career was exemplary, and he is among the greatest minds that have been part of our Ram family,” McConnell said. “But his kindness, thoughtfulness, generosity, and determination to make CSU better give him a special place in our history. We are so proud to have had George as part of our community, and we are proud to celebrate his incredible contributions.”
Growing up on a dairy farm in Pennsylvania, Seidel came to Colorado State as an assistant professor after completing post-doctoral work at Harvard Medical School. He was elected to the National Academy of Sciences in 1992 and named a University Distinguished Professor in 1993. In 2014, he was elected to the National Academy of Inventors. He did this all while proudly running a cow-calf ranch with his family, especially his beloved wife Sarah.
Seidel’s work led to the establishment of the Bovine Embryo Transfer Laboratory at CSU as well as the XY, Inc. company. As the founder of XY, Inc., Seidel transferred royalties from his company’s work back to Colorado State to support generations of students and fellow researchers.
“For the most part, I just consider myself lucky – having been at the right place at the right time,” Seidel said in a late-career interview. “I have had good colleagues, students, and mentors. I cannot minimize my wife’s input as well. I think, for the most part, I get more credit than I deserve – sometimes less than I should, sometimes more – so it evens out.”
George Seidel in 2019 when the Department of Animal Sciences presented him with the Livestock Leader Award. Photo by John Eisele/CSU Photography
Seidel supported 18 Ph.D. students and 38 master’s students and mentored more than 30 postdocs while at CSU. He retired in 2011 but remained active in his scholarly pursuits. Over the course of his career, he had 192 publications and nearly 5,000 citations.
“George’s incredible research career was exemplary, and he is among the greatest minds that have been part of our Ram family. But his kindness, thoughtfulness, generosity, and determination to make CSU better give him a special place in our history. We are so proud to have had George as part of our community, and we are proud to celebrate his incredible contributions.”
— CSU President Joyce McConnell
The Founders Day Medal was first awarded in 2010 and is among the most prestigious honors at Colorado State University, awarded to individuals, families or organizations whose contributions have had a significant, transformative, and lasting impact on the University’s history and progress. CSU’s Founders Day celebrates the institution’s creation and the collective impact of its students and scholars on the state, nation, and the world, as well as celebrating the University’s service to the people of Colorado.
The Founders Day medal is traditionally awarded to the recipient or (in the case of a posthumous recipient) to their family on Founders Day, Feb. 11. This year, in consideration of COVID public health protocols, an event is being planned for later this spring to celebrate Seidel’s achievements and contributions. President McConnell will present the medal to Seidel’s family at that time.