A native of Sunrise, McElwyn “Mack” Whiteker received his bachelor’s degree in animal science, and his master’s and doctoral degrees in animal nutrition from the University of Kentucky College of Agriculture in 1951, 1957 and 1961, respectively. He served as the swine herdsman for UK from 1957-1959. Additionally, Whiteker served in the U.S. Air Force as an air traffic controller during the Korean War.
Mack left Kentucky for six years to serve as the extension swine specialist for Iowa State University. He returned to UK in 1967 as the extension swine specialist, and in 1981, Whiteker was named the assistant director of extension for agriculture.
Long known as the “hog man of UK,” Whiteker gave 30 years of service to agriculture in Kentucky and across the nation. Many considered him an expert in pork production.
Whiteker was one of the fathers of Ag Roundup, the largest contiguous alumni event on UK’s campus. Each fall, hundreds of Ag & HES alumni return to campus to participate in this signature event. Mack opened relationships between organizations and the college that are still enjoyed today. He will forever be remembered by most who knew him for his friendliness, humor, storytelling and expertise of grilling pork chops at numerous university, local, civic and state events.
He was the recipient of numerous awards and recognitions. Among the list is the National Pork Producers Council Headquarters Distinguished Service Award, and he was the first recipient of the Service Award presented by the Kentucky Pork Producers.
Upon retirement, numerous individuals and organizations gave funds to create and endow the M. D. Whiteker Fund for Excellence. This award honors outstanding state agriculture extension specialists who have at least six years of service and demonstrate great leadership in the field such as Whiteker displayed during his tenure at UK.