In Memoriam: Dr. David A. Wieckert

Dr. David A. Wieckert, age 88, passed away on Sunday, May 17, 2020. He is survived by his wife, Joan, and son, Ward.  The following is an excerpt from the History of the Dairy Science Department: A Memoir by L. H. “Bud” Schultz.

“Dave was appointed Assistant Professor in 1963. Dave was born in 1931 and grew up on a farm near Appleton, WI. He received the B.S. degree in 1952, M.S. in 1956, and Ph.D. in 1963 from the University of Wisconsin under the supervision of Professors Corley (until he resigned) and Heizer. From 1953 to 1956 he served as a Food Inspector in the U.S. Army. From 1956 to 1957, he was Assistant County Agent in Oconto County. He was promoted to Associate Professor in 1967, and to Professor in 1970, retiring in 1996 at the age of 65 after 33 years in the Dairy Science Department. Dave did research on animal behavior, corrective mating for type traits, and type classification, but his strong suit was teaching and advising students.

In 1967, Dave won the campus-wide Kiekhofer Teaching award, in 1970 the Ag Campus Gamma Sigma Delta teaching award, and in 1981, the ADSA teaching award. He served as chairman of the CALS Curriculum and Instruction Committee for 26 years. He was named Atwood Distinguished Professor in CALS in 1980 and Industry Person of the year at World Dairy Expo in 2001.

For many years he taught the large introductory class in Dairy and Animal Science and a popular course in dairy breeds and families. Later he taught the course in Dairy Herd Management. He was a long-time advisor for the Saddle and Sirloin Club. He had hundreds of student advisees. He was particularly helpful to former students and hosted many foreign visitors. In retirement, Dave continues to plan and host international tours and visitors.

Dave was an authentic dairy producer. He had been on the lookout for a farming partner that he found in a pair of brothers who were students in the Farm and Industry Short Course and participants in the Canada tours. Their common dream became a reality in 1978 when they formed a partnership, and after initially renting, purchased a farm. Over time, their operation expanded and was joined by two more brothers. In the beginning, Dave was the mentor and business supervisor. But as the business expanded, his role diminished and he phased out of the partnership. A strong, mutual respect remains between the mentor and former students.”

Additional Accomplishments

Distinguished Service Award

Dave Wieckert received this award in 2014. This is arguably, the highest honor bestowed on retired members of the faculty by the College of Agricultural and Life Sciences. Dave received this honor after publication of the Dairy Science Department History was published. His other awards were included in the history. A copy of the nomination document and Vitae are available by request.

Service to Agriculture Award

Presented by Farm & Industry Short Course Alumni at the Short Course Alumni Reunion in January 1997. Unfortunately, this award was overlooked at the time of the Dairy Science Department History.


How many students did Dave teach during his tenure in Dairy Science?  That magic number is documented as 10,228. He was proud of this number and had accumulated the totals over his 33 years of teaching. These numbers were meticulously listed in a table by course number and academic year.

Dave is survived by his wife, Joan; son, Ward; sister, Marian Pratt of Fort Worth, Texas; brother, Walter (Beverly); and sister-in-law, Betty Wieckert, all of Appleton. He was loved and admired by six nephews and seven nieces. Dave was preceded in death by his brothers, Ernest (Alice) and Carlton; and sister, Maurgret (John) Wiegand.

A memorial service will be planned at a later date. Memorials may be made to the David A. Wieckert Scholarship Fund – UW Dairy Science Dept. c/o Gunderson West Funeral and Cremation Care. Online condolences may be made at

Compiled by George Shook, a colleague of David’s in the Dairy Science Department from 1967 until David’s retirement in 1996. Phone 608-836-8821 or email