Julie L. Morrow, PhD
Eulogy, Delivered January 10th, 2003
Department of Animal and Food Sciences
Texas Tech University
Lubbock, TX 79409
I am honored to be asked to speak about the life of Dr. Julie Morrow. Her passing should be a testament to her strong will, her sense of humor, her professional accomplishments and her love of family and friends. She has inspired many during her life, but some people are not aware of her many accomplishments. Today we celebrate her life by recalling her dreams and her accomplishments.
I first met Julie in the summer of 1984 at the national meeting of the American Society of Animal Science. The meeting was held in Columbia, Missouri in August. Julie was at that time a graduate student at the University of Nevada at Reno. She approached me about the idea of attending graduate school and working towards her PhD. We had a long conversation in the sweltering summer heat of Missouri and I learned some things about Julie that have stayed with me over the past 18 years.
Julie was an undergraduate student in Biology at the University of Illinois. While working on that degree, she worked in the Animal Science department on physiology projects with Dr. David Brown. While an undergraduate student at the University of Illinois, she made an appointment with then Department head Dr. Gene Becker for advice on graduate school. Dr. Becker was from the old school and he advised her that a young woman from Chicago had no business in Animal Science. Julie was furious about this comment and rather than being discouraged, she was energized to prove him wrong on two points – the fact that she was female and the fact that she did not grow up on a farm would not deter her. Dr. Becker was proved wrong not only by Julie, but by countless others. The department that he once lead now graduates more female than male students.
Dr. Dave Brown understood her potential. When he moved to the University of Nevada, he enticed Julie to attend graduate school there. She worked on the behavior of grazing cattle in the mountains outside of Reno, Nevada. She camped on the mountain and collected extensive notes on the behaviors of these free-ranging cattle. She was not afraid to take risks to add to our knowledge. And she was not afraid to move on from the University of Nevada when she felt she could learn more in another environment.
When I met her in Missouri, she had no experience with pigs. She had only the beginnings of a background in science. But what she did have is that spark. That spark that tells me that she wants to learn. That she wants to explore. That she wants to expand our knowledge of the world around us. That spark is the spark that ignites the scientific mind. Julie had that spark and it ignited a career of life-long learning.
Many people have the same spark in their own disciplines. When a person who is truly engaged in a field, be it science, medicine, music, the humanities, -- in any field –- when professionals in that field run into a young person who has that spark, they culture it and nurture it and fertilize it and then the person grows. Some people grow to be leaders in their field. Julie was such a person – a leader in the field of animal behavior and physiology.
Julie arrived at Texas Tech in the summer of 1985. She rented a duplex in the town of Idalou Texas. Her mother thought that was special, because Julie’s grandmother used to call her Julie Lou and now her mother noted that she was now Julie Lou from Idalou.
Julie wanted to live in Idalou because it was closer to the farm and to her animals. Julie was an animal lover and here in Lubbock, she developed an attachment to our friend the pig. Julie lived within about 5 minutes of the university farm. She spent countless hours at the farm observing pig behavior.
Julie tackled a research problem that was clearly unique. She asked the question: do pigs have maternal pheromones? Can piglets recognize their mother by their scent alone? And can we use this information to improve the welfare of the pigs. In a series of studies, Julie identified that pigs do recognize their mother by their scent – by a pheromone -- and she was the first to report that pigs have what is called a maternal pheromone. Julie showed that piglets learned their mother’s scent by 12 hours of life. The maternal pheromone was comforting to the piglet.
Later, based solely on her work, a French research group isolated the maternal pheromone and it is now sold commercially as a tool that can be used to reduce stress in the weaned piglet – the scent of the mother is comforting to the piglet. The maternal pheromone is sprayed on the environment after weaning and it reduces the stressfulness of the post weaning environment.
One day we had visiting scientists from Sweden. Julie was impressive to these Swedish visitors and after she graduated, they offered her a postdoctoral fellow in Sweden working on stress physiology and behavior in pigs. In 1989 she returned to the USA as an NIH postdoctoral fellow at Boston University School of Medicine. She studied stress and immunity in mice for over a year before returning to Lubbock, for the second time in 1991, as a Tarbox Postdoctoral Fellow at the Texas Tech University Health Sciences Center. There she worked on stress effects on Rhesus monkeys.
A year and a half later, in 1992 she accepted a position with USDA as a Research Associate in Clay Center, Nebraska. She studied the physiology and behavior of stressed cattle for 2 years.
In 1994, she was awarded a scientist position with USDA at Purdue University. She became the Research Leader at the Livestock Behavior Research Unit in West Lafayette, Indiana. This was the first position in USDA that was devoted to animal behavior. She grew that unit for over two years before moving to Lubbock to start the Livestock Issues Research Unit with USDA here. For over 6 years she has been the Research Leader here with 2 scientists and support staff.
I would like to pause for a moment to point out the variety of animal species she has experience with – pigs, cattle, monkeys, mice – as her primary activities. But she has extensive experience with other species, too, most notably, dogs, horses, birds and sheep. She truly was an expert in the behavior of animals.
Julie has many accomplishments in her professional life. She was a member of the American Society of Animal Science, the International Society for Applied Ethology (where she was an officer), the Animal Behavior Society, The Scientists Center for Animal Welfare, the International Society of Psychoneuroendocrinology, the American Association for the Advancement of Science, the Council for Agricultural Science and Technology, Gamma Sigma Delta, and Sigma Xi. Julie was one of the first scientists to become board certified in Animal Behavior by the Professional Registry of Professional Animal Scientists.
Julie was a member of numbers local, national and international committees. She was most active recently with the Federation of Animal Science Societies Animal Care, Use and Standards Committee and with the National Pork Board’s Animal Welfare Committee – both committees with a national reach. She was a regional secretary for the International Society of Applied Animal Ethology. She was an active and fully-engaged member of the Texas Tech University Animal Care and Use Committee.
Julie has received many awards for her hard work. She has received four Certificate of Merit Awards from USDA-ARS. She has served on the editorial boards for the Journal of Animal Science, Applied Animal Behavior Science and The Professional Animal Scientist – all internationally recognized scientific journals. Her awards included numerous research grants given to her to accelerate her research endeavors.
Along the way, with all the difficulties facing women in science, Julie had a support group of fellow colleagues. This group had a name -- they are the Animal Behavior Divas. The Divas included not only Julie, but Adele Douglass, Joy Mench, Carolyn Stull and Janice Swanson. We are grateful that Carolyn and Janice are with us here today. Julie did all of this as a woman in the male-dominated world of Animal Science and in this way, Julie and the other Divas have blazed the trail for future generations of women to be full participants in the shaping of science.
Julie was invited to speak at dozens of regional, national and international conferences. The theme was usually animal behavior and physiology and the audiences included veterinarians, scientists, farmers, government bodies, and even children.
One of the most important professional activities that Dr. Morrow and her family can be proud of is her publication in scientific journals. Julie was an author or co-author on over 20 scientific papers in respected international journals. Dr. Morrow also published or presented over 65 abstracts or technical writings. These publications will live on forever in libraries and bookshelves around the world.
Many of us found out later that Julie suffered from Juvenile Diabetes. One remarkable feature of this young scientist is that she worked on mountainsides, farms, animal surgery suites, trucks, trailers, and laboratories with few people understanding her condition. She was more than a trooper when it came to collection of scientific data – she was the leader and the pace-setter. She could be counted on at any time of day or night to be there and to be prepared. She was an inspiration to students and faculty most of which never knew the medical problems she had dealt with.
Julie gave birth to Amy in the Boston years. This, too was remarkable. She was a young, nurturing mother and a young scientist. Julie’s passion was Amy. She wanted only the best for Amy. Her next passion was animals. She wanted only the best for the animals she studied.
Julie’s spark should be an inspiration to us all. The spark she showed as a graduate student has been burning for all of these years. We each have our own goals with both our families and our work environment. I hope that Julie’s life and her legacy will be an inspiration to all of us. We should celebrate her life and her accomplishments. Many of us have it much easier than she and we sometimes lose sight of the important things in life. Julie had balance in her life and she had the drive to succeed in family and science.
I know that your sympathies are with her daughter Amy, her mother Sallie, her father Bud, her brother Tom and the rest of her family. Her family should be proud of Julie for her strong will, her sense of humor, her professional accomplishments, and her commitment to her family. We will all miss her.