Donald M. Kinsman spent his entire faculty career (1956 – 1988) in the Department of Animal Science at the University of Connecticut. He was a complete faculty member excelling in research, teaching and service, but teaching was his true passion. Kinsman cared deeply for students and was an outstanding advisor. He was recognized as a gifted teacher with an ability to remember the name of every student that he had ever taught in class. Outside of the formal classroom, he served as an advisor to the University’s Block and Bridle Club (the oldest student organization at UConn) and the Alpha Gamma Rho fraternity.
Well ahead of his time, Kinsman single-handedly started a program that enabled UConn students to study animal science throughout the world and obtained external funds to assist them with their travels. He visited more than 30 countries and helped attract some 40 international animal and meat scientists to UConn. His contributions to both developed and developing nations were also made through the Heifer Project International and the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations. He was a strong advocate for teaching and went out of his way to encourage and compliment individuals whose efforts and reputations supported their efforts to be effective in the classroom.
Kinsman was a sports enthusiast and a die-hard Boston Red Sox fan. He was very supportive of UConn Athletics and came out of retirement to serve, at the invitation of the President, as the inaugural (interim) director of the Counseling Program for Intercollegiate Athletes.
Several hundred alumni, colleagues and members of Connecticut’s agriculture community attended his retirement party. They honored Kinsman by contributing money to a fund in his name that established the first ever college-level teaching award, the Donald M. Kinsman Award for Excellence in Teaching by a Junior (<10 yrs) Faculty Member. The first award was presented to Richard Clark (NUSC) in 1990 and has been presented to a deserving faculty member every year since. The award eventually evolved to recognize teaching accomplishments by faculty members at any career stage. The Kinsman Award served as the inspiration for subsequent College-level awards for excellence in faculty research and extension.
Kinsman earned his Bachelor of Science degree at the University of Massachusetts in 1949. He received his Master of Science degree at the University of New Hampshire in 1951, and his doctoral degree at Oklahoma State University in 1964. He served in the Marine Corps from 1942 to 1946, serving with the 4th Marine Division, Asiatic Theater in three campaigns and received a Purple Heart and a Presidential Citation.