Dr. Paul Patterson: Outstanding Alumnus 2024

We are excited to announce that Dr. Paul Patterson, professor emeritus of poultry science at Pennsylvania State University (PSU), was recognized as the department’s Outstanding Alumnus for 2024.


Patterson was born in Lafayette, Indiana, but grew up in Pullman after his father joined the WSU Horticulture Department as a faculty member. After graduating from Pullman High School, he attended WSU and graduated with a BS in animal sciences in 1979. Continuing his education, he worked in Dr. Craig Coon’s lab at WSU and investigated the protein requirements of mature working horses, earning his MS in animal sciences in 1982. He looks back fondly at his education at WSU.

“I got a super education at WSU,” Patterson said. “The breadth of my experience was fairly broad. Back then there were no graduate student assistantships, so to pay for school I held various jobs at Hilltop stables and the feed mill.

While working on his MS degree, Patterson was also involved in an unrelated study that sparked an interest in poultry nutrition, which led him to the University of Wisconsin where he earned a PhD in poultry sciences and nutritional sciences in 1988. He began his career as an assistant professor and Extension specialist in the Department of Animal Science at the University of Hawaii before returning to the mainland in 1992 when he was hired by PSU. He was later promoted to associate professor in 1998 and full professor in 2005.


As an Extension Specialist, Patterson designed his research and outreach program to address nutrition, egg quality and safety, and environmental management, which are many of the poultry industry’s greatest challenges. For example, he investigated methods to recycle nutrients and reduce discharges to improve soil and minimize impacts on water and air quality. He championed the use of vegetative buffers at livestock and poultry farms to not only beautify the property but to also screen barns and activities at the urban-rural interface, protect flocks and livestock from extreme weather conditions, provide biomass crops for bedding and renewable fuels, conserve energy as windbreaks, and decrease environmental impacts by trapping or treating farm emissions.

Patterson’s prolific career generated more than $8 million in extramural funds. He supervised 28 undergraduate research projects, mentored and advised 36 graduate students and six postdoctoral researchers and visiting scholars. He was the author or coauthor of more than 80 refereed journal articles, 130 proceedings papers, 7 books or book chapters, and 124 Extension and outreach documents. In addition, he presented more than 170 conference abstracts and spoke at over 470 Extension and outreach programs, many times as an invited speaker at national and international forums.

Commitment to the Poultry Industry

Dr. Patterson is committed to the safety and future of the poultry industry. He played a key role in the Pennsylvania Egg Quality Assurance Program, which implemented management practices to prevent contamination of eggs with Salmonella enteritidis, a bacterium that is a common cause of foodborne illness in humans. He is the current Director of the National Egg Quality School and as an instructor he has taught shell quality, hen nutrition, pest eradication, Salmonella control, and FDA environmental and egg testing procedures to more than 2,300 egg industry professionals. As a crucial member of the Pennsylvania HPAI Task Force that was deployed in response to the catastrophic mortality caused by Highly Pathogenic Avian Influenza in 2015 and 2022, Patterson demonstrated a virus inactivation system by ensiling dead hens that allowed safe storage of one million birds in a 600-ft long Ag-Bag.

A long-time member of the Poultry Science Association, Patterson has served on the Board of Directors, as Secretary/Treasurer, and was a member or chair of numerous committees. He has been an editor, reviewer, or ad-hoc reviewer for numerous peer-reviewed journals, including Poultry Science and the Journal of Applied Poultry Research. He is an active member of both the American Poultry Historical Society and the World’s Poultry Science Association, having served as President in the former organization and as a USA Branch Representative, on the Board of Directors, and as Vice President in the latter.


To recognize his dedication to the poultry industry and for his excellence in Extension and outreach programs, Patterson was the recipient of the Poultry Science Association’s Phibro Extension award in 2005, PSU’s Faculty Outreach award in 2017, the Mid-Atlantic Nutrition Conference Work Horse award in 2012, and the Purina Research Fellowship award from 1993 to 2004. He was named a Poultry Science Association Fellow in 2022.

Patterson and his wife, Nüket Acar Patterson, PhD, reside in Pennsylvania. They have two sons and a grandson. He returns to the Palouse on a regular basis to visit his father who still lives in Pullman. An avid horseman, he hopes to get approval and funding to create a bridle path around Kamiak Butte, a national natural landmark that rises to 3,641 feet a few miles north of Pullman.