Messenger - Vol. 4, No. 1, Page 13
John K. Rosenberger receives Francis Alison Award

     John K. Rosenberger, professor and chairperson of the Department
of Animal Science and Agricultural Biochemistry, is the newest
recipient of the Francis Alison Award, given in recognition of
outstanding academic contributions to the University and to his
     The $5,000 Alison Award was established in 1978 by the
University's Board of Trustees to recognize the scholarship,
professionalism and dedication of the faculty.
     Rosenberger received his award at New Student Convocation.
     The soft-spoken Rosenberger seems to have found perfect
contentment in his professional life. Well-respected in the Delaware
agricultural community and a sought-after local, national and
international speaker and consultant, he has had many employment
offers but has elected to remain at the University.
     "I've stayed at the University because of the interaction with
the students. I enjoy working with people who are enthusiastic, vital
and looking forward to all of the things they can and will accomplish.
Working with graduate students has been one of the more rewarding
parts of my job, and I've been blessed with faculty, professionals and
staff who, over the years, have been very supportive and good at their
chosen professions. In addition, I have found that the administrative
climate at the University is far superior to that at many other
institutions I am familiar with.
     "The Alison Award is a particularly rewarding one because it
suggests something about the impact you've had on students over the
years, in my situation, graduate students. It helps to make you feel
that you may have had some lasting effects on the way others develop
and contribute in some way to their future success and productivity,"
Rosenberger says.
     Working in the community is another part of the job that
Rosenberger says he enjoys.
     "The College of Agricultural Sciences is different from most
other units on campus in that we have 12-month appointments and I
believe have a better understanding of the land-grant philosophy. We
are here year round, and part of our mandate is a very strong
extramural research and service commitment. It allows us to meet and
work with people outside of the University on a regular basis in the
state government, federal government, agribusinesses and related
industries such as pharmaceutical and vaccine manufacturers.
     Rosenberger is a Delaware native who earned a bachelor of science
degree from the University in 1964. While he had originally planned to
follow the family tradition of veterinary school, a research project
he worked on in his senior year got him hooked on research. He
declined his acceptance to veterinary school and stayed at the
University and earned his master's degree. After that, the Vietnam War
intervened and he served as an infantry and chemical corps officer.
From 1966-1969, he was a first lieutenant and served as a platoon
leader and as a virologist for the U.S. Army's Virus & Rickettsia
Division at Fort Dietrick in Frederick, Md.
     From there, Rosenberger pursued his doctorate in veterinary
microbiology with an emphasis on virology at the University of
Wisconsin. He returned to the University as an assistant professor in
1972, became an associate professor in 1976 and, two years later, was
named department chairperson. He was promoted to full professor in
     Primarily a virologist, Rosenberger conducts research focusing on
virus diseases that affect the agricultural sector, primarily in the
poultry industry.
     "Typically," Rosenberger says, "we work on the characterization
of new diseases or disease agents as they emerge, and follow through
with the development of diagnostic tests and vaccines or other means
to control the diseases that oftentimes have an economic impact on
both a local and international scale."
     Collaboration is a byword for Rosenberger. "I believe a mistake
that is often made in training students at all levels, particularly in
the sciences, is to emphasize academic or technical excellence and
competitiveness without recognizing the need to communicate, share and
work effectively with others not only in our own discipline but in the
general community. For this reason I insist that every student under
my advisement work with other students and technical staff on research
projects other than their own," he says.
     Rosenberger has published numerous journal articles and book
chapters, often co-authored with graduate students, and has written
for the popular press. He has given presentations worldwide and served
on the editorial boards of the American Journal of Veterinary Research
and Avian Diseases.
                                                          -Beth Thomas