Plant biology has been taught since Cornell University first opened its doors to students in 1868. In recognition of it’s 145 years of history and service to the University, the Department of Plant Biology celebrated by organizing a two-day series of events. The celebration started with a keynote lecture by Dr. Marcus A. McFerren (Friday, June 28, 2013), entitled A Journey Through Plant Biology: Botanical Medicine & All It’s Warts. The lecture was followed the next day (Saturday, June 29, 2013) with introductory remarks by Dr. William L. Crepet (Chair of the Department of Plant Biology), Dr. Jan Nyrop (Senior Associate Dean of the College of Agriculture and Life Sciences), and Mr. Simon Zhou (a first-year graduate student) all of whom welcomed the approximately 175 attendees. These welcoming remarks were followed by five-30 minute talks: The Early History of Botany at Cornell (delivered by Mr. Edward D. Cobb, who organized the entire celebration), The McClintock Years (delivered by Dr. Lee B. Kass), The Early Integrated History of the Four Cornell Herbaria (delivered by Mr. Robert Dirig), Modern Herbaria and the Future Why Do We Need them Now? (delivered by Dr. Kevin C. Nixon), and Plant Biology in the Next 100 Years (delivered by Dr. Adrienne Roeder, the newest faculty member in the Department of Plant Biology). These lectures were followed by a banquet held at the Statler Hotel.
Photo at top-right: The Centennial Celebration Committee: (l-r) Edward D. Cobb, Maria Alejandra Gandolfo Nixon and Karl J. Niklas
Roeder, Adrienne (Internet-First University Press, 2013-06-29)
Dr. Adrienne Roeder reviewed the many changes that have occurred since the University was first founded, and made the important point that “If we can predict the scientific developments in the next 100 years, we have failed our task” as scientists.
Dirig, Robert (Internet-First University Press, 2013-06-29)
Mr. Robert Dirig discussed the history of Cornell University’s four major herbaria, which include collections of vascular plants, algae, fungi, and lichens, and showed how these herbaria contributed to the University’s prestige.
Crepet, William L. (Internet-First University Press, 2013-06-29)
Dr. William L. Crepet welcomed the attendees and speakers by pointing out the diversity of research and services provided by the Department. He also drew upon many personnel anecdotes from his long career as Chair.
McFerren, Marcus A. (Internet-First University Press, 2013-06-28)
Dr. Marcus A. McFerren presented numerous examples of how the discovery of plant secondary products have helped fight human diseases and how future plant explorations will likely continue to lead to new pharmaceuticals.
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