Bernie Rollin teaching in the classroom
Bernie Rollin teaching. PHOTO: CSU Photography

The classroom in the round at the heart of the Nutrien building is named for pioneering animal ethicist and University Distinguished Professor Bernard Rollin because of the generosity of CSU alumni.

Steve Hillard (B.A., ’70) and Jeff Tovar (B.S., ’89) were among the many students Rollin influenced over his half-century teaching about the ethical treatment of animals in medicine, research, agriculture, and society. He was on the faculty of the philosophy, animal sciences, and biomedical sciences departments at CSU.

Donors and Bernie Rollin family in front of the Knowledge Well classroom.
Steve and Sharmaine Hillard (left), Michael and Linda Rollin, and Kyla and Jeff Tovar at the opening of the Nutrien Agricultural Sciences Building in May 2022. PHOTO: Joe A. Mendoza, CSU Photography 

Hillard earned his bachelor’s degree in political science and spent his career in law, politics, and media working to increase equity for the underrepresented. The Colorado native wanted to honor Rollin’s life and legacy with a $750,000 gift to support the College of Agricultural Sciences’ commitment to creating a more diverse and inclusive future for agriculture. Hillard’s investment in the IDEA – Inclusion, Diversity, and Equity in Agriculture – initiative will fund an experienced director to develop strategies, policies, and programming to position the college as a model for its peers and the greater agricultural community.

Tovar, owner of Tovar Snow Removal Professionals, gave $2.75 million to fund several initiatives to support faculty and students within the college, including the Bernie Rollin Animal Ethics Enrichment fund. It helps with travel and publication expenses for animal welfare and ethics graduate students attending academic conferences, and will support a named symposium to attract distinguished lecturers who engage in research in animal ethics and behavior.

The Bernard Rollin Knowledge Well honors both the professor and the pupils.