Nichols Awarded 2022 Mark and Eva Gardiner Innovation and Excellence Faculty Award


Dave Nichols, K-State University Animal Sciences & Industry professor emeritus, has been awarded the 2022 Mark and Eva Gardiner Innovation and Excellence Faculty award. Arguably one of the most recognizable “faces of K-State,” Nichols’ exemplary 40-year career as an educator included teaching more than 15,000 students. In addition to his responsibilities as a teaching professional, he advised nearly 2,800 students throughout his tenure.

Nichols was raised on a commercial beef, swine and farming operation in Indiana. He earned a bachelor’s degree from Purdue University and master’s and doctorate degrees from K-State. In 1981, Nichols was hired as a K-State extension specialist. In 1983, he transitioned to a teaching and research position. Nichols served as the Animal Sciences and Industry undergraduate teaching coordinator from 1998 until June 2021. Throughout his career, Nichols has been recognized for outstanding achievements and his altruistic contributions to K-State for more than four decades.

Mark and Eva Gardiner, who with their family own and operate Gardiner Angus Ranch near Ashland, Kansas, established the award in 2019 to recognize faculty in the K-State College of Agriculture who are excelling through innovative teaching, research or extension that positively impact the global food system. Mark Gardiner made the following comments. “Recognizing Dave Nichols with this award takes into consideration professional and personal friendships that span two generations. I first met Dave as a K-State student. He also taught and advised our sons. Gardiner Angus Ranch has partnered on many beef industry projects in the past 40 years, beginning with Dave’s relationship with Henry Gardiner. Dave has made it his life’s mission to challenge students to think, act and pursue careers with the goal to make the beef business better. Dave Nichols is the perfect example of why Eva and I created this award. His innovations and teaching excellence are unparalleled. His commitment to agriculture, loyalty to Kansas State University and passion for youth are unmatched. His friendship over decades is priceless.”

Gardiner Angus Ranch is a family-owned and operated beef operation that produces registered and commercial Angus cattle. The original ranch was homesteaded near Ashland, Kansas, in 1885 by Henry Gardiner’s grandfather. Today, Gardiner Angus Ranch is one of the largest registered Angus seedstock and commercial operations in America and continues to make genetic advancements using only artificial insemination and embryo transfer.



The Kansas State University Department of Animal Sciences and Industry serves students, livestock producers and the animal and food industries through teaching, research and education. The K-State ASI department prepares students for careers in the animal and food industries. The curriculum includes the study of nutrition, reproduction, genetics, behavior, meat science and food science with production, management, and agribusiness skills.