The Fort Lewis dairy herd grazes in front of West Hall.

When Fort Lewis’ herd of 15 registered Holstein dairy cattle arrived on campus on March 22 from alumnus Bill Stubblefield’s dairy in Branch, Arkansas, not many people seemed to notice.  In retrospect, this wasn’t too surprising since that Tuesday was right in the middle of advising for summer and fall semesters.

But now that the cows are grazing daily the large expanses of grass on the campus’ common areas and coming into the Student Union twice a day for milking, many Fort Lewis students, faculty, and staff have had an opportunity to meet the campus newcomers.

“Do they have names?” became a frequently asked question.  After all, Fort Lewis is a small, friendly  campus where its customary for people to exchange greetings as they pass by each other on campus. Anna Moderno, one of the student members on the dairy’s Board of Directors, proposed the winning solution.  The cows would be named after some of Fort Lewis’ administrators during the last 100 years.

Fifteen individuals and groups were given the honor of selecting a name and assigning it to a specific cow.   So far two cows have been named.   

Bill Stubblefield, who received first honors, selected the name “Bader” in honor of Ernest H. Bader, the dean in charge of Fort Lewis when Stubblefield attended in the 1940s.  

The Associated Students of Fort Lewis College had the second turn.  So at the beginning of this week’s regular meeting, the table took a field trip out to the residence hall Quad, where the herd was then grazing.  It didn’t take long to make a decision, President Laura Watkins reported, to decide who would be “Thomas,” in honor of Fort Lewis’ eighth president, Dene Kay Thomas.  “We picked the dominant member of the herd -- the one at the top of the social hierarchy.”

To recognize the past and present of campus dairying, the Westerners Club will have naming rights for the third cow, followed by the Environmental Center.   Student Ally Grunwald, who is coordinating the Westerners Club’s naming process, said they were will in discussion.  “We know the rules are to pick an administrator’s name.  But we want a farmer’s name.  You know, let’s try to remember the farmers.”

Local food, Fort Lewis style

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APRIL FOOLS!