Angus Australia was saddened to learn of the recent passing of Dr Doug Parrett, Emeritus Professor at the University of Illinois, Champaign/Urbana, USA, and longtime mentor of many Angus Australia University of Illinois Scholarship winners.
Dr Parrett was instrumental in the development of the University of Illinois Scholarship, which saw the winner of the Angus National Judging competition spend a semester at the University, under the guidance of Dr Parrett.
In 2005, Dr Parrett was invited to judge the Angus breed at the Sydney Royal Easter Show, an experience he thoroughly enjoyed.
Dr Parrett has provided a lasting legacy to those that he has mentored over the years and will be greatly missed by each and every person that he crossed paths with.
A Tribute from Greg & Sally Chappell
Sal and were deeply saddened to learn of the passing of Dr. Doug Parrett aged 71. Doug most definitely had a major influence on the recipients of the Illinois University Scholarship re imparting a knowledge and understanding of both Livestock and Meats.
Sal and I first met with Doug at Champaign/Urbana in early January of 1982. Doug had been the man responsible for setting up the Angus Australia/Illinois University Scholarship, The University component.
We couldn’t believe the guy was only our age and here he was, already The Associate Professor of Animal Science at one of the most acclaimed Land Grant Universities in the USA.
Upon Sal’s and my arrival Doug spent a day and a half providing us with course outlines and assisting us select courses that best suited our needs. Once our program was finalised he then escorted us to the various Lecturers, introduced us and did everything possible to assist make us feel right at home, including installing us in the on campus married quarters.
Doug was a champion educator his ability to motivate his Livestock Class students was something to behold. Doug had a unique ability to combine Objective assessment utilising Genetic evaluation systems with Visual assessment of Structural soundness. Attending Doug’s Livestock Classes did provide me with the knowledge, the experience and motivation to set up mini livestock classes, modelled on Doug’s, upon my return to Farrer. I feel confident that many a young aspiring Beef Cattle Husbandry student who attended Farrer during the early 1980’s benefitted greatly from the fact that I had been able to complete Doug Parrett’s Livestock Classes. Those Livestock classes were invaluable to both Sal and I with respect to the development of The Dulverton herd providing us with a sound knowledge base from which to focus, as Doug would often say, on “Maternal Magnificence”.
The Meats class which I also attended was delivered by Dr. Tom Carr, Doug’s very best “mate”. Interestingly without Doug introducing many of The Scholarship recipients to the Illinois Meats Classes Australia may never of had an Intercollegiate Meats judging team. This team has competed successfully in the USA Inter-Varsity event over the past thirty (30) years.
The experiences these fortunate participants gained from this exposure has been so beneficial to the Australian Beef Industry at large. One such recipient of the Illinois University Scholarship, Mr. Jason Strong was instrumental in establishing the Australian Intercollegiate Meats Judging Team. The understanding of Beef eating quality and its measurement, Jason gleaned from his involvement in these courses, has enabled him to follow a career path in this discipline. Jason was a member of the initial research team involved with developing MSA and is currently CEO of MLA.
Doug oranised for me to attend two Meat Science courses delivered by Dr. Floyd McKeith and Dr. Jan Novakofski. I was so grateful for this experience I was able to gain a greater understanding of Muscle Biology, Lipids and the issues involving producing Beef of optimum Eating Quality. It was this exposure that most definitely assisted me fulfil a role on the initial research team involved with developing MSA.
Doug was more than simply a facilitator of Learning experiences involving Livestock and its subsequent transformation to Meats. Doug was a visionary and to me he epitomised The American ethos that every citizen was entitled to as comprehensive an education as was available in whatever their chosen field may have been, Education has no Boundaries. I have no doubt that it was this important facet of his “Character” that enabled Doug to initiate and deliver programmes such as The Angus Australia Illinois University Scholarship.
Doug was very much a man of The J.F. Kennedy ilk, he definitely “saw things as they might be and asked WHY NOT”.
Doug, may you Rest In Peace in the knowledge that your many thousands of students are all the better equipped re travelling their respective Life’s Journeys because of their having known you.
Greg and Sally Chappell
A tribute from Jason Strong
All recipients of the University of Illinois Scholarships share the benefits of the incredible opportunity provided by the Angus Australia Illinois Judging Scholarship. The only reason that was possible was the amazing generosity of Dr Doug Parrett. As many of you would be aware, tragically Dr Parrett passed away suddenly on Friday, August 26th. Not surprisingly he had taught a class that day (at 71 years of age) and I am sure would have had some gems for the students and probably stayed back to talk to one or a number of students who had something else to ask him.
There has been an overwhelming (but not surprising) flow of tributes in the US and on social media. Dr Parrett touched so many lives. For someone who is not well known outside our very privileged circle of Scholarship recipients he had a huge impact on so many careers and by default the Australian industry. I know for me, and I assume for at least a few others, my career took a very different trajectory as a result of the Illinois Scholarship. None of which would have happened without the generosity of Dr Parrett.
As well as tribute from Greg Chappell above, there is also one from the University: U of I beef production professor, icon Doug Parrett passes away | College of Agricultural, Consumer & Environmental Sciences :: University of Illinois
There is a saying about the true evidence of a man’s character is how he spends his time when he doesn’t have to. Dr Parrett was so willing to share his time and knowledge when quite often he wasn’t required to. He did it willingly. When he spoke of his students or the more than 40 of us he hosted on the Illinois Scholarship you could feel the joy he got from helping others. So glad we can call him a friend, terribly sad he is gone but know his legacy will live on in so many of us who are better people because we knew him.
Dr Parrett’s funeral will be Wednesday this week in Champaign. As is the custom in the US there is a visitation Tuesday US time which very fittingly will be held in the Stock Pavilion.
Winners of the University of Illinois Scholarship
1980 – John Sundermann
1981 – M. J. Barnett
1982 – Greg Chappell
1983 – Peter Inglis
1984 – Richard Whale
1985 – Geoff McInnes
1986 – Peter Moir
1987 – R. Stewart
1988 – Ewen McLeish
1989 – Netta Holmes
1990 – Jason Strong
1991 – Steven Scott
1992 – Tim Vincent
1993 – Garry Edwards
1994 – Erica Halliday
1995 – Ben Hill
1996 – Tim Scott
1997 – Sam Owen
1998 – Donald Patch
1999 – Rodney Gibson
2000 – Lucie Manifold
2001 – Donna Knox
2002 – Hayley Moreland
2003 – Fiona Lindsay
2004 – Diana McLeish
2005 – Christie Fuller
2006 – Jason Schulz
2007 – Penny Schulz
2008 – Matt Cherry
2009 – Eliza Newcombe
2010 – Steven Pocock
2011 – Trinity Golding
2012 – Aleisha Finger
2013 – Laura Grubb
2014 – Kate Fairlie
2015 – Ellen Simpson
2018 – Hannah Powe
2019 – Monique Estrada
Feature Image: 2008 winner Matt Cherry & Dr. Parrett at the Beef Farm at the University of Illinois looking at a feed efficiency trial.