James and Judith Herbert (’62, ’63)

Category: Awards | Distinguished Alumnus/Alumna

2019 Distinguished Alumnus/Alumna Award Winner

James L. Herbert is the founder of Neogen Corporation, one of the world’s most successful manufacturers of food and animal safety products.

Before founding Neogen, Herbert served as corporate vice president of DeKalb Ag Research, a major agricultural genetics and energy company. In 1985, he created Neogen, and under his leadership, the company has developed a renowned international presence. Herbert served as president of Neogen until 2006 and continued to serve as CEO until 2017, when he transitioned into his current role as chairman of Neogen’s board of directors and director of strategic growth.

Herbert’s leadership has been recognized by Forbes, NASDAQ, and USA Today, which named him a Michigan Entrepreneur of the Year. He was named a Global Scot in recognition of his economic development activities for Scotland. He has received honorary PhD degrees from Michigan State University; Queen’s University Belfast, Ireland; and the University of Tennessee.

Judi Herbert has a passion for writing. She has been a lifelong member of the National Council of Teachers of English. Her vision is that all students graduate from UT with the ability to clearly communicate their thoughts in writing. To that end, the Herberts offered significant support to the UT Writing Center, creating an undergraduate tutoring program targeting first-year students and new services for upper-division students who are not English majors.

The support of the Herberts has been recognized with the renaming of the Writing Center to the Judith Anderson Herbert Writing Center (to be dedicated in October) and the College of Agriculture to the Herbert College of Agriculture. They have served on the College of Arts and Sciences Dean’s Advisory Board, UT Foundation Board, UTFI Alliance of Women Philanthropists, and the UTIA Agriculture Development Board.

They are also active philanthropists in their own community. Judi is a dedicated member of Sigma Kappa and has focused her recent work on aiding Sparrow Hospital in Lansing, Michigan, where she has served as a board member for the Sparrow Foundation. The couple has generously donated to the hospital and, in 2015, were honored with the naming of the Herbert-Herman Cancer Center.

Herbert graduated from UT in 1962 with a BS in animal husbandry, and Judi graduated in 1963 with a BA in English.