|Vol. 17, No. 13||Dec. 4, 1997|
The new Lasher Laboratory, originally constructed to support poultry research by the Agricultural Research Service of the U.S. Department of Agriculture, was transferred to the University when USDA decided to close it.
The Delaware General Assembly and the Sussex County Council provided operating funds to keep the building open, and a $250,000 gift from Lasher has allowed the University to update and renovate the lab so that it can now support the research, outreach and extension programs of the University's Research and Education Center and College of Agricultural Sciences. A new interactive video classroom and conference center will provide new opportunities for innovating programs.
Calling Lasher "a pioneer in the world of poultry biologics," UD President David P. Roselle, said the gift he and his wife, Bertha, gave in memory of their son, Steven Hiram Lasher, has enabled the University "to continue the vital support of the work that has marked Hiram's career in Southern Delaware and the world."
Roselle said the spirit in which the Lashers made their gift is epitomized in the words of Winston Churchill: "We make a living by what we get, but we make a life by what we give."
Also speaking at the ceremony were a variety of individuals who have helped the course of agriculture in the state, including Frank Greene, associate North Atlantic area director of the Agricultural Research Service of USDA; Delaware Gov. Thomas R. Carper; H. Wesley Towers Jr., state veterinarian; Denise H. Lasher, Hiram and Bertha Lasher's daughter and a 1977 UD graduate; John Nye, dean of the UD College of Agricultural Sciences; John K. Rosenberger, chairperson of the Department of Animal and Food Sciences at UD; and Mark Isaacs, director of the Research and Education Center in Georgetown.
Formally dedicating the laboratory, UD Trustee John E. Burris said that Lasher has "dedicated his life to the advancement of poultry health on the Delmarva Peninsula and throughout the world.... We are indebted to Dr. Hiram N. Lasher and to the members of his family who are with us today for their leadership, support and commitment to the University of Delaware."
Lasher came to Delaware in 1948 as a poultry pathologist with the state Board of Agriculture. Since then he has founded three companies and made Delaware an international leader in the development of poultry biologics.
In 1950, he founded Delaware Poultry Laboratories in Millsboro and began producing high quality, moderately priced vaccines, as well as providing growers with free, expert diagnostic services and flock management advice. Within two years, DPL had a national reputation as the leader in the field of poultry biologics.
In 1959, his company was bought by Sterling Drug Inc., a major international pharmaceutical conglomerate. DPL became the spearhead of its animal health division, later renamed Sterwin Laboratories, with Lasher as president. It became the leading manufacturer of poultry biologics, supplying over one third of the U.S. market, as well as substantial foreign exports. He took early retirement in 1979.
He then started a venture known as Inter-Continental Biologics Inc., which was a state-of-the-art, high-tech production facility, aimed at the world marketplace. His venture attracted the attention of Intervet International, a major producer of vaccines for the international market and a subsidiary of a giant Netherlands-based conglomerate, which bought the venture and installed Lasher as president, a post he held until he retired in 1982. Today, Intervet America Inc. in Millsboro plays a major factor in both the domestic and international markets.
In 1982, he founded Lasher Associates Inc. and as president, he continues to serve as a national and international consultant in poultry biologics. His clients range from small businesses to multinational corporations around the world.
In addition to his commercial work, Dr. Lasher has shared his ideas and knowledge with the poultry industry generally and with his colleagues individually. He has served on the Poultry Health Committee of the Delmarva Poultry Industry Inc. and on the Committee on Transmissible Diseases of the U.S. Animal Health Association, and he is a member of the Agriculture Committee for the College of Agricultural Sciences at the University.
His work has won him many honors, including the Delmarva Poultry Industry's Medal of Achievement, the C.A. Bottoroff Service Award of the American Association of Avian Pathologists, an honorary degree from Delaware Technical and Community College, the Order of Merit and Silver Beaver awards from the Boy Scouts of America and the Order of the First State.