From the moment her father placed her on a pony when she was three years old, Karyn Malinowski CC’75, GSNB’80, ’86 was a goner for horses—an ardor that developed into a lifelong passion that few enthusiasts can match. Today, as the director of the Equine Science Center, part of the New Jersey Agricultural Experiment Station at Rutgers, Malinowski has developed an international reputation for promoting the well-being of horses and the equine industry—part of her three decades of professional devotion, all at the university. It recently culminated in Malinowski’s charitable gift annuity of $100,000 to support the center, which, in celebrating its 10th anniversary last year, offers a host of services, including research, education, outreach, and advocacy.
As its first and only director, Malinowski, who admittedly is “very possessive and protective of the center,” says it would be a fitting legacy if her gift helps attract a qualified candidate to succeed her, someone who will match her enthusiasm and myriad talents, from researcher and scientist, to advocate for the equine industry, to the center’s public face to students and the public. To that end, she has taken a lead role in raising $1.5 million in matching funds to establish an endowed chair in equine science, made possible by an anonymous gift of $27 million to Rutgers to establish 18 endowed chairs at the university. “With all the things we have going on here, I’m working it constantly,” says Malinowski. “It’s a 24/7 commitment.”
Her devotion to horses was evident as an undergraduate when, as a sophomore enrolled in the College of Agricultural and Environmental Sciences after transferring from Douglass, she and fellow student Diane Simone Cini lobbied to establish the Society for Animal Science (one that would include female members); cofounded the Rutgers equestrian team; and, along with Simone Cini, gave the first equestrian demonstration at the inaugural Agricultural Field Day in 1972, using their own horses for the exhibition because the university didn’t own any.
And little has changed, whether she is testifying in the legislative halls of Trenton on the economic benefits of the horse racing industry, to overseeing the vast research enterprise at the center, to answering queries posted on the center’s website, which receives 3.4 million visits a year. “Rutgers has been so supportive of the center,” she says. “It was time for me to give back.”