Robert W. Bray was born in 1918 near Dodgeville, Wisconsin. He was married to Kathryn
Mader and they had two children — Robert and Jane. His undergraduate education was at the
University of Wisconsin. He received the MS degree from Kansas State University and the PhD
from the University of Wisconsin. He served in the US Navy from 1943 to 1946.
He is nominated to the Wisconsin Meat Industry Hall of Fame because of his contributions to
meat science education and research and for his leadership role in the meat industry.
His entire professional life was devoted to the University of Wisconsin. He was a faculty
member of the Department of Meat and Animal Science from 1941 to 1984, and he served as
Departmental Chairman from 1963 to 1966. From 1966 to 1984, he was Associate Dean and
Director of the College of Agricultural and Life Sciences. He is presently Emeritus Professor
and remains active as Editor of the Wisconsin Association of Meat Processors newsletter.
He was responsible for initiating the meat science program at the University of Wisconsin, which
he developed along the three-pronged approach of teaching, research and extension. People
were his first interest, but along the way he made sure they had excellent facilities in which to
work. The modest beginning of a one-room slaughter floor and a detached wooden structure
lecture hall underwent major remodeling in 1959 and 1970 to make it a modern laboratory and
processing center in which six faculty, numerous students and visiting scientists carry on their
His success is perhaps best measured by the output of students. It is estimated that he taught
meat science to approximately 2,500 undergraduate and short course students. He was the first
PhD in Meat Science at the University of Wisconsin in 1949 and since then, his “family” of MS,
PhD and Visiting Scientists numbers more than 30. These “offspring” are indeed a who’s who of
the meat industry being employed in responsible and leadership roles not only across the USA
but around the globe.
His research centered on carcass evaluation. He and his students did early work for the USDA
which still today underpins the quality standards. His crowning achievements with meat judging
teams deserves special recognition. He was very serious not only about winning but also about
using the judging activity to train young people and to interest them in the field of meat science.
From the period 1946 to 1956, his teams won ten national contests and placed third or above in
29 national contests. Also, he was a leader in promoting the use of carcass contests to determine
the real value of an animal. He worked long and hard not only at the local county fairs but also
devoted major effort to the International Livestock Exposition where he served as superintendent
of the Quality Meat Contest (1956-1970) and was also on the Board of Directors (1970-1976).
He was instrumental in organizing, in 1951, the Meat Products Show for the Wisconsin
Association of Meat Processors. Today over 60 processors compete and about 1000 products are
judged annually. He also served many years as a Director of both the Wisconsin Livestock and
Meat Council and the Wisconsin Livestock Breeders.
He has received numerous awards and recognitions, including being the first President of the
American Meat Science Association and the first recipient of this organization’s most prestigious
recognition, the R. C. Pollock award.
Bob Bray has been a pillar in the Wisconsin meat industry. His record of accomplishment in
education, leadership and promotion is unequaled. Through his efforts, the meat industry has
been extremely well served with talent, information and advice. His inspiration alone was
responsible for founding the Wisconsin Meat Industry Hall of Fame.