Don Cameron Warren


Honorary Degree (1972)
Doctor of Science
Location: Bloomington
Presenter: John William Ryan


An eminent geneticist who was named to the Agricultural Hall of Fame in 1971 for his contributions in the field of poultry breeding, Dr. Don C. Warren grew up on a farm in eastern Indiana near Saratoga, where his chores included helping tend the family's flock of chickens. After graduation from high school he spent a summer at Indiana State Normal College and, thus equipped, became a teacher of a one-room school in his home township. At the beginning of his second year of teaching he was married and received from his father a wedding gift of a cow and $500 in cash.

With this modest stake he enrolled the following fall in Indiana University. Aided by his wife he earned the A.B. degree in zoology in 1914. During the next year he was a scientific assistant at Cold Spring Harbor research laboratory of the Carnegie Institute in New York. He returned to Indiana University as a graduate assistant to study under Fernandus Payne for the master's degree, which he earned in 1917. His thesis was devoted to the genetics of the fruit fly, DROSOPHILA. During the next four years he was employed by the governments of Alabama and Georgia in research on control of the cotton boll weevil. He then enrolled at Columbia University to study under Thomas Hunt Morgan, receiving the Ph.D. degree in 1932. His thesis was on the inheritance of egg size in the fruit fly. He joined the faculty of Kansas State University where he spent the next quarter century in teaching and research, winning the Poultry Science Association Research Award in 1933 and the Bordon Award in 1940.

In the late 1940's when federal funds became available for cooperative regional research in agriculture, Dr. Warren was chosen to head the new north central area project in poultry breeding at Purdue University. He also was entrusted with setting up the other regional programs with the title of National Coordinator. Out of the research he directed during this period grew the Institute of Population Genetics at Purdue. During this period he also served as consultant in poultry breeding in Puerto Rico, Egypt, Turkey, and India. In 1956 he joined the genetics staff of Kimber Farms, Fremont, California, retiring from that post in 1968.

He is a fellow of both the Poultry Science Association and the American Association for the Advancement of Science and the author of over 90 scientific papers papers and the book Practical Poultry Breeding.