The longhorn Dean Farnsworth at his ranch in Columbus, Texas. Courtesy of The University of Texas at Austin School of Law..
The longhorn Dean Farnsworth at his ranch in Columbus, Texas. Courtesy of The University of Texas at Austin School of Law.. (Courtesy of The University of Texas at Austin School of Law)

Right now, Dean Farnsworth could be in a field munching on grass. He also gets fresh oats each week and a new bale of hay bimonthly.

If you go visit, it’s best to “stay in the truck,” as the longhorn’s owner recently told his namesake: Ward Farnsworth, dean of The University of Texas at Austin School of Law.

“I could get gored. … He’s good natured, but unpredictable,” explained the human Farnsworth about the reason he couldn’t pose for a picture with his longhorn doppelganger.

As Farnsworth recalls, it was a “wonderful gift” when John Massey, president of the UT Law School Foundation, invited Farnsworth to his ranch in Columbus, showed him the longhorn and said, “This is Dean Farnsworth. I’m naming him after you.”

“I only hope I can live up to the honor of having this wonderful animal named after me,” he said. “I mean that it’s a magnificent beast, and if you saw him—to see him is to be impressed. He’s a very handsome specimen of a longhorn.”

The bovine Dean Farnsworth recently enjoyed his 15 minutes of fame: He was featured in UT Law Magazine and on a law school holiday card that was distributed to a small number of UT Law supporters.

“I stagger beneath the weight of this honor, and fear that I am unworthy of it,” Farnsworth wrote in UT Law Magazine, “[T]he Dean is formidable, and is my evident superior in point of nobility, determination, and looks.”

But when Farnsworth wanted a snapshot with the beast, Massey told him to “stay in the truck.” Sensing Farnsworth’s “disappointment at not having a closer personal encounter,” Massey gave him another gift: A longhorn skull that the real dean mounted on the wall in his office.

Farnsworth said in an interview that he thinks that Massey keeps “maybe a couple of dozen” longhorn on his ranch. Dean Farnsworth isn’t the first bovine named for a leader of UT Law.

“I follow in a fine tradition. Bill Powers has a longhorn named after him—just named Bill—that also lives on the same ranch,” Farnsworth said about the former UT law dean and current UT Austin president.