Lecture Series to Celebrate Iowa State Sesquicentennial

March 30th, 2007

AMES, Iowa — A series of lectures associated with the 150th celebration of the founding of Iowa State University and the College of Agriculture begin April 2.

Three lectures are scheduled to take place the week of April 2 and will begin a year of lectures sponsored by the College of Agriculture, its departments and centers.

William Lucas will deliver the annual Walter Loomis Lecture at 7 p.m. April 2 in the Pioneer Room, Memorial Union. It is titled, "The Plant Vascular System: an information superhighway."

Lucas is a professor of plant biology at the University of California, Davis. He earned a bachelor's degree in physical chemistry and botany as well as a doctorate in plant physiology from the University of Adelaide in 1971 and 1975.

The lecture is named for Walter Loomis, who joined Iowa State as a professor in 1927. His studies on translocation and photosynthesis and his comprehensive essays on differentiation and growth quickly established his reputation as an original thinker, resourceful experimenter and advocate for the new field of plant pathology. He earned a bachelor's degree in horticulture from the University of Illinois and a doctorate from Cornell University in vegetable crops.

The annual Charles E. Bessey Lecture on April 4 brings Douglas Soltis, professor in the Department of Natural Sciences at the University of Florida, to campus. He will present "Darwin's Abominable Mystery: genetic and genomic insights into angiosperm evolution" at 8 p.m. in Lush Auditorium, Kildee Hall.

Soltis spearheaded the effort to use genetic tools to understand flowering plant relationships. He and his collaborators use comparative genomic techniques to deepen the knowledge of flora development and floral evolution.

He received his bachelor's degree in biology in 1975 from the College of William and Mary, a master's degree in biology in 1977 and a doctorate in biology in 1980 from Indiana University.

The lecture is in honor of Bessey, an Iowa State professor from 1870 to 1884, who established the first regularly scheduled laboratory botany course for undergraduates in the nation in 1873. He collected plants and established the herbarium at Iowa State and published the first checklist of Iowa plants.

The annual Paul Errington Lecture is scheduled for 7:30 p.m. April 5 in 1414 Molecular Biology Building. John Wiens, chief scientist for the Nature Conservancy, will present "From Wilderness to Wal-Mart: the evolution of conservation philosophy and practice."

Wiens is responsible for developing and helping to implement science-based conservation throughout the Nature Conservancy. His work has emphasized landscape ecology and the ecology of birds and insects in arid environments on several continents.

Wiens earned a bachelor's degree in zoology from the University of Oklahoma in 1961 and master's and doctorate degrees in zoology from the University of Wisconsin in 1963 and 1966.

The lecture is named for former Iowa State professor Paul Errington, who joined the university in 1948 and remained for his entire career. He was recognized as an outstanding animal ecologist and in 1962, the year of his death, received the Aldo Leopold Medal from The Wildlife Society. Life magazine named him as one of 10 outstanding naturalists of North America in 1961.

Wendell Berry, a nationally known farmer, writer, conservationist and philosopher, will deliver the 2007 Shivvers Memorial Lecture at 7 p.m. April 15 in ISU's Memorial Union. Berry is a prolific poet, essayist and novelist and has taught English at New York University and the University of Kentucky.

Berry's appearance is sponsored by the Leopold Center for Sustainable Agriculture as part of its 20th anniversary celebration.

The Shivvers Lecture will include a discussion moderated by Laura Jackson, Leopold Center board member and University of Northern Iowa biology professor. She will be joined by two Iowa organic farmers, Francis Thicke, Fairfield grass-based dairyman; and Laura Krouse of Mount Vernon, who grows seed corn and vegetables for a community supported agriculture enterprise and teaches biology at Cornell College.

The annual Shivvers Memorial Lecture is in memory of John Shivvers, who farmed near Knoxville, and is co-sponsored by the Gamma Sigma Delta Honorary Society for Agriculture at Iowa State.

Contacts: 

David Hannapel, Horticulture, (515) 294-9130, djh@iastate.edu (Walter Loomis Lecture)
Dean Adams, Ecology, Evolution and Organismal Biology and Statistics, (515) 294-3834, dcadams@iastate.edu (Charles Bessey Lecture)
Rolf Koford, Natural Resource Ecology and Management, (515) 294-3057, rkoford@iastate.edu (Paul Errington Lecture)
Laura Miller, Leopold Center, (515) 294-5272, lwmiller@iastate.edu (Shivvers Memorial Lecture)
Ed Adcock, Communications Service, (515) 294-2314, edadcock@iastate.edu