B.W. Pickett left behind a giant legacy in the field of equine reproduction. Photo courtesy of Colorado State University

B.W. Pickett, Leader in Equine Reproduction, Dies at 89

B.W. Pickett, one of the nation’s pioneers in equine reproductive science, died on Feb. 27 in Fort Collins, Colorado, at age 89.

Lung cancer was the cause, according to his notice of death, which described him as a scientist, philosopher, poet, cowboy and a world-class storyteller.

A planned memorial at the eponymous B. W. Pickett Equine Teaching and Research Center has been postponed because of current national health concerns.

Pickett began his world-renowned career as a distinguished academic and scholar at the University of Connecticut in the department of Animal Industries. In 1967, he relocated with his family to Fort Collins to become the director of the Equine Reproduction Laboratory and later the director of the Animal Reproduction Laboratory. 

As the director of Equine Sciences at Colorado State, Pickett was the energy and leadership behind the opening of the university’s Equine Teaching and Research Center, one of the first in the United States, and today a leader in equine reproductive research.

While there he oversaw major breakthroughs in the science of animal reproduction, including the first set of cloned calves in 1982, as well as the first identical twin foals from one man-made split embryo in the United States two years later.

Over his career, Pickett has been showered with distinction and merit, particularly for his contributions in the field of animal reproduction and artificial insemination.

The university’s B.W. Pickett Arena, a football-sized field equine facility, is named in his honor.

Picket retired in 2000.

B.W. Pickett was born Dec. 14, 1930 to Harve W. and Susie B. Pickett, in Cyril Oklahoma, the youngest of four children. He attended Central High School in Muskogee, Oklahoma and afterward joined the US Army.

After the Army, he received his Bachelor of Science degree in dairy husbandry from Oklahoma State University. He earned a master’s in reproductive physiology from the University of Missouri in Columbia, where he also later received a Ph.D. in reproductive physiology. 

In 1955, he married Joan Marvin of Winchester, Massachusetts, who was teaching Early Childhood Education at Stephens College in Columbia. 

In addition to his wife, Pickett is survived by three sons and two grandchildren.