Award winning author and activist Temple Grandin speaks at SIU on developing talent


Isabel Miller | @Isabelmmedia

Institute Director of the Paul Simon Public Policy Institute John Shaw and Temple Grandin talk before her speech on Thursday, Oct. 3, 2019, inside the Student Center.

By Bethany Rentfro, Staff Reporter

World-renowned animal scientist Dr. Temple Grandin gave a lecture tonight at the SIUC Student Center ballrooms to talk about how to achieve success as a person with autism. 

This event was held by the Paul Simon Public Policy Institute on campus and organized by Gilbert H. Kroening, a  professor, and Dean Emeritus. 

Grandin has won numerous awards for her work with livestock and agriculture as well as for her writing.


See more: Grandin’s awards

“I am a graduate and I worked here, and I just wanted to give something back to the university that would last,” Kroening said. “I thought one way to do it was to set up a lecture series. I wanted it to be in the broad field of agriculture or international development.”  

Isabel Miller | @Isabelmmedia
Temple Grandin answers questions after her speech on Thursday, Oct. 3, 2019, inside the Student Center.

Grandin is a professor of animal science at Colorado State University, and she has written several books documenting her experiences as a person on the autism spectrum. 

During the lecture, Grandin mentioned several things about building trades, agriculture, clever engineers, autism and the different kinds of minds. 

“I got to go on a really cool trip to NASA and the launch pad was built by someone who had Tourette syndrome,” Grandin said. “Let me tell you, the people in the special education programs build the stuff.”

Grandin said she is a proud supporter of building trades and said she believes parents need to get their kids out doing things with their hands. 

“I think one of the biggest mistakes the schools have made is taking the skilled trades out of schools,” Grandin said. “Kids today are being screened out of the trade fields.”


Grandin said she was inspired by a high school teacher and had experience working with livestock on a ranch with her aunt. 

Grandin said the different types of minds need to come together to achieve greatness. 

“Visual thinkers are needed in science because they understand the really important details,” Grandin said.  

John Shaw, Director of the Paul Simon Public Policy Institute, said he learned a lot from Grandin’s lecture and that it was very inspiring for him. 

“She was really good at touching on worlds that most of us don’t know very much about,” Shaw said. “I am not that familiar with agriculture, so the whole science of animal husbandry, that realm is something that is really interesting, and of course, the world of autism.” 

The best way she can be an advocate for autism is to be successful in her career, Grandin said.  

“I could give all the speeches in the world about autism,” Grandin said. “But my success is far more important than any sweeping rhetoric that I provide.” 

A book signing was held after the event for those who attended the lecture.

Staff reporter Bethany Rentfro can be reached at [email protected] or on Twitter at @BethanyRentfro.

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