Updated November 5, 2013
by Coleman Cornelius
A couple notable in the Arabian horse industry has donated $3 million to the Colorado State University Equine Reproduction Laboratory to propel teaching, research and clinical services that have made the laboratory a foremost authority in reproductive science and techniques.
Bud and Jo Adams, of Scottsdale, Ariz., said the significant donation is their way of giving back to a program that benefited their horse business, Adams Arabians, for many years. It is the family’s second transformational gift to the university: Twenty years ago, Bud Adams and his late first wife, Louise, donated a barn and arena complex worth more than $1 million; the Adams-Atkinson Arena has been a key facility, where thousands of CSU equine students have gained a unique combination of scientific and hands-on learning.
The couple gathered with friends and family members on Oct. 19 at CSU to celebrate the naming of the Bud and Jo Adams Equine Reproduction Laboratory.
The new gift stems from a friendship that began when the CSU Equine Reproduction Laboratory was known simply as the “stallion lab,” and two of its architects – equine experts Jim Voss and Bill Pickett – regularly visited and consulted with Adams at his ranch when it, too, was on the threshold of excellence. Voss, who became an esteemed leader at CSU, died in July after a long illness.
“Through the years, I’ve had a good relationship with the people at Colorado State University,” Bud Adams said. “Jim Voss and Bill Pickett were very helpful in my horse business. Now I’m retired, and I want to make up for some of the things that CSU did for me – to do them and other people a lot of good.”
Adams credited CSU equine veterinarians for helping him turn his fledgling farm into an operation that raised champion Arabian horses and provided him a platform that helped to shape the Arabian industry in America into what it is today.
The gift will help train a new generation of equine professionals, while supporting the research and clinical service needed to foster the world’s best equine genetics.
“The discoveries that will flourish thanks to the generous gift from Bud and Jo Adams will continue to advance our understanding of equine breeding and genetics,” CSU President Tony Frank said. “The Adamses have been incredible supporters of Colorado State for many years, and we are honored to have their support of the ERL as an extension of their lifelong love for horses.”
The Equine Reproduction Laboratory is a trademark program at CSU and part of the Animal Reproduction and Biotechnology Laboratory, a university Program of Research and Scholarly Excellence.
For about 40 years, the Equine Reproduction Laboratory has pioneered techniques for horses that are now used more broadly in animal and human reproduction assistance. These include semen freezing and cooling; embryo transfer; and advanced procedures, such as semen and embryo preservation, and intracytoplasmic sperm injection.
The laboratory had its grand re-opening in spring 2013 after a fire destroyed the earlier facility in 2011. The Adams gift will underwrite the next frontier of work in the new facility, said Mark Stetter, dean of the College of Veterinary Medicine and Biomedical Sciences.
One visible sign of this support will be a new showpiece barn built just for mares and newborn foals on the grounds of the Equine Reproduction Laboratory.
“Bud and Jo Adams have provided a legacy gift that will shape CSU programs and the equine industry for many years to come,” Stetter said. “Their gift will yield knowledge that helps preserve valued equine bloodlines, and there’s no doubt this knowledge will continue to boost our understanding of reproductive health in other animals and in people.”
Adams bought his first Arabians 60 years ago and built his herd in his home state of New Mexico, eventually moving to Arizona.
As Adams Arabians grew, so did its influence: Bud Adams became a leader in the Arabian community at the local, state, regional, and national levels. He served several times as president of the New Mexico Arabian Horse Association, helped form the International Arabian Horse Association, and was the president of the Arizona Arabian Horse Association. He also was a longtime member of the United States National Show Committee and Scottsdale Show Committee, leading two of the largest Arabian horse shows in the world.
“Bud has often told me that horses have given him so much in his lifetime, and he wanted to give something back – something that would help them,” Jo Adams said. “This gift to the CSU Equine Reproduction Laboratory is something that’s very important to him.”
Carol Borchert contributed to this story.