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Dr. Donnie Gardner

Gardner Named OSU Vet Med Distinguished Alumnus

Wednesday, August 11, 2021

Media Contact: Derinda Blakeney | College of Veterinary Medicine | 405-744-6740 |

Oklahoma State University’s College of Veterinary Medicine recently named Dr. Donnie Gardner of Huddleston, Virginia, a 2021 Distinguished Alumnus Award recipient.

He is currently CEO of Gardner Heifers Inc. — a custom dairy heifer raising business to benefit dairy farmers in Virginia, Pennsylvania and North Carolina. Gardner is known for his expertise in dairy cattle reproduction and nutrition, designing and constructing housing and feeding areas for dairy replacements, forage crop farming and grazing management.

Active in several professional organizations, he was instrumental in the establishment of the Dairy Calf and Heifer Association and the Virginia Academy of Food Animal Practitioners. He is active in his church and community such as supporting the local FFA chapters and serving on the Bedford County Agricultural Economic Development Advisory Board. Gardner has received local, state and national honors and awards including Dairy Quality Assurance Veterinarian of the Year, American Association of Bovine Practitioners 2011 Practitioner of the Year and the 2015 Paul E. Landis Virginia Veterinarian of the Year Award.

“Dr. Don Gardner was one of my classmates and friends," said Dr. Billy Clay, who nominated Gardner for this award. "He was a good student who was very inquisitive about the details of information necessary for him to excel in his chosen profession. He has been no less inquisitive as a professional and leader in his specialty of dairy heifer development.”

“As I developed my dairy practice, I recognized the heifer replacements were often neglected since they weren’t directly producing any income like the cows,” Gardner said. “Knowing they are the dairy’s future, I put a lot of emphasis on them in my veterinary practice and eventually offered custom rearing services that grew into my main business.” 

Gardner earned his DVM degree from OSU CVM in 1970. He will be honored at the veterinary college’s Distinguished Alumni Award Luncheon on Friday, Nov. 5.

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