A perennial “Hardy”

first_imgJan. 23, 2003Writer: Cat Holmes (706) 542-8960 (clholmes@uga.edu)Source: Hardy Edwards (706) 542-1351 (hedwards@uga.edu)A perennial ‘hardy’: Edwards still excels at UGABy Cat HolmesUniversity of GeorgiaWhen Hardy Edwards began his University of Georgia research and teaching career on Nov. 1,1957, Sputnik I had been orbiting Earth less than a month. Television was black-and-white, andthe campus wasn’t ? it was still four years before integration.Nearly everything has changed, said Edwards, a renowned poultry scientist who was recentlyrecognized for his 45 years at UGA, the longest tenure of any faculty member now.“One of the things you learn to adjust to, if you stay around an institution as long as I’ve stayed atthe University of Georgia, is change,” Edwards said with a laugh. “Mine is a dynamic field. Andboth the university and the world have changed a great deal.”At 73, Edwards continues to conduct research, guide graduate students and teach classes. Indeed,“the last 20 years have been particularly fruitful,” he said. “I’ve had a really fun and rewardingcareer here. When I came to UGA, I decided I would not lay around, and I haven’t.”Born in Ruston, La., in 1929, Edwards graduated from Southwestern Louisiana Institute in 1949.He got a master’s degree from Florida in 1950 and a PhD from Cornell in 1953, when he was just23.“I was the youngest person at Cornell at that time to have received a PhD,” Edwards said. “Canyou imagine what a big head I had as a young man?”Drafted into the Army then, he served for two years. “The army did me a lot of good,” he said.“You know what they say about Cornell students: ‘You can always tell them because you can’ttell them much.’ In the Army, I was a private and spent two years picking up cigarette butts offthe ground. I needed that.”For Edwards’ first 15 years, he developed a highly respected research program in poultry andanimal nutrition, with emphasis on lipid and mineral metabolism. He co-discovered thecondition, cause and prevention of X disease in chickens and the antibiotic growth response inanimals.Edwards spent a year as a research associate in physiological chemistry at the University of Lundin Sweden in 1964-65.He was awarded a Guggenheim fellowship in 1972 and spent it at the Institute of NationalResearch in Agriculture in Tours, France, and the Applied Biology Department at Cambridge,England.Promoted to professor in 1966, Edwards became the UGA graduate dean in 1972. For the nextseven years, he came to appreciate the UGA’s “top-notch” programs.In 1979, he returned to poultry science, building a new research program focused on the causeand prevention of leg abnormalities in poultry and on phytate phosphorous utilization by poultry.This work has resulted in four U.S. patents.In 1984, he was a visiting professor for the National Institute of Animal Science in Copenhagen,Denmark, and a Danish Agricultural and Veterinary Research Council Fellow.In 1991, in the House of Commons in London, he was presented the Tom Newman InternationalAward for contributions to poultry research.Edwards now studies vitamin D requirements of broiler/breeder chickens and the vitamin’seffects on their progeny.“I’m interested in how this may affect immune responses,” he said. “All kinds of cancers havebeen linked to Vitamin D deficiency. This isn’t a backwater area. This is an area that’s movingfast.”Edwards still lives on the same farm he bought with his wife, Aldies, in 1957 and where theirson, Hardy III, grew up. On 170 acres between Winterville and Hull, he continues to manage acow-calf farm, though he says he’s starting to slow down.“Five years ago I could stack a hay wagon by myself,” he said. “But some of these things requirephysical labor I’m no longer equal to.”He may not be stacking hay wagons, but with three articles being published, a graduate coursethis semester and an active research program, he’s certainly living up to his name.(Cat Holmes is a science writer with the University of Georgia College of Agricultural andEnvironmental Sciences.)last_img

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