His Majesty The King has awarded Professor, Dr. agric Odd Vangen the title Knight 1st Class of the Royal Norwegian Order of Saint Olav.
The decoration, the highest ranked decoration one can receive in Norway for civilian activities, was bestowed at an event in the Clock Building at The Norwegian University of Life Sciences (NMBU) Monday 29 November 2021.
During the ceremony, Vangen was commended for his large and broad commitment and clear voice.
«It is a great day for all of us, especially for our faculty, but also for the entire NMBU, for the entire industry, for society,» said Kari Kolstad, Dean of Faculty of Biosciences at NMBU.
Odd Vangen has contributed with a necessary foundation within sustainability, within solving challenges we have faced and challenges that we will meet - and investeded tremendous resources in promoting this.
«In addition, you have made significant contributions in many other areas that are of vital importance for societal development. This makes you a man of honor», Kolstad said.
Odd Vangen was born in Drammen and grew up in Mjøndalen in Nedre Eiker county. He was awarded a Dr. scient degree in pig breeding in 1974 and a Dr. agric degree in agricultural science in 1980. In February 1987 he was appointed professor of animal husbandry and genetics by the King in Council. He has been employed at NMBU (formerly the Norwegian School of Agricultural Sciences) throughout his career.
Vangen is a nationally and internationally recognized teacher, lecturer and communicator.
In addition, Vangen has many academic positions in and outside the university in Norway and internationally and has had many research stays abroad.
He has written an extensive number of scientific and popular science articles and received numerous awards and honors. He has also shown great commitment to education policy and the development of NMBU.
A world-class scientist
Where he has really put his signature, both nationally and internationally, is in his crucial work for breeding healthy and production-efficient livestock - one of the cornerstones of sustainable food production.
Ever since he himself earned his doctorate in the 70's, Vangen has worked to ensure that not only growth and feed utilization, but a wide range of characteristics, must be the basis for breeding robust and healthy animals.
He has been a pioneer in focusing on the breeding subject primarily being used to develop livestock with good production ability and good animal health. Breeding for healthy and functional livestock is thus the breeding work's important contribution to good animal welfare.
Odd Vangen has a legacy of great importance, and is a scientist who has made an extraordinary effort in important areas for our society - from research and dissemination in animal husbandry and genetics, to involvement in cultural life and politics.
The industry's recognition
It was Chancellor Mette Tverli who, on behalf of the Palace, presented the Order of St. Olav.
In addition to his significant professional contribution, the Chancellor also described Vangen as the perfect intermediary between academia and the industry, where he has gained trust and respect throughout the Norwegian livestock community. This is a result of unique communication skills, great breadth and commitment, and perseverance.
Odd Vangen has researched and taught on almost all production animals in Norway in addition to horses and dogs, and thus has an exceptionally large breadth in his knowledge. He has been involved in the public debate, for example in connection with the Biodiversity Act, and has been a clear voice in the work with ethical and sustainable breeding of dogs and horses.
In conclusion, the Chancellor said:
“Odd Vangen, you are described as creative and brave, strong and unifying. One who sees the whole picture, and puts things in a long perspective. It is said that you are someone who cares, listens and is warm and welcoming. A world-class scientist. A true man of honor, and with a genuine desire to make a difference. Which you did.»
Includes students in the academic community
In his speech, Rector Curt Rice at NMBU emphasized how important Odd Vangen has been, both socially and academically, for the community the academic community at NMBU constitutes.
“A sign of this is that you are not only valued as a researcher, but also as a teacher. You engage students academically and include them in the academic community. In this way, you demonstrate how one can ensure growth and regrowth. Which is a prerequisite for quality and development in the subject itself,» said Rice.
The importance of research not only being disseminated, but also applied
The humble and proud protagonist focused on thanking everyone who has contributed to this day; family, friends, colleagues and the entire industry in his speech.
«I have been standing on the shoulders of so many, including the pre-existing knowledge base of this scientific subject area, which in collaboration with the breeding organizations, the livestock industry, managers and users, for 50 years, has been the area I have operated in. And that has given me the opportunity to contribute to this livestock breeding research and development and thus to Norwegian animal welfare and sustainable agriculture,» Vangen said.