Arthur Galston to Receive Distinguished Alumni Award from University of Illinois

The University of Illinois will be bestow the 2004 College of Liberal Arts & Sciences Alumni Achievement Award on Arthur Galston, Eaton Professor Emeritus of Botany in the Department of Molecular, Cellular & Developmental Biology and professor emeritus in the School of Forestry and Environmental Studies of Yale University at a reception and dinner in Urbana, Illinois on October 29.

His research on plant photobiology, hormones, protoplasts and polyamines led to more than 320 papers in refereed journals, as well as more than 50 articles on public affairs, successful textbooks of plant physiology and edited anthologies of papers in bioethics. According to Galston, his major research contribution was to suggest and obtain evidence, in 1950, for the role of riboflavin as the photoreceptor for phototropism. Others have recently proved this.

Galston received his Ph.D. degree in Botany from the University of Illinois in 1943 and came to Yale in 1955 as a Professor of Plant Physiology in the old Department of Botany, having previously been an associate professor at the California Institute of Technology. He retired in 1990, at the then mandatory retirement age of 70.

At Yale, he chaired the Botany Department and the former Biology Department, the Course of Study Committee and the Committee on Teaching & Learning, and was Director of the Division of Biological Sciences. During his career at Yale, he mentored 24 Ph.D. students and 67 postdoctoral fellows from 16 countries and in 1994 received the William Clyde De Vane Medal for lifelong teaching and scholarship.

He served as President of both the Botanical Society of America and the American Society of Plant Physiologists, and has been awarded several academic honors, including Guggenheim, Fulbright and Senior National Science Foundation Fellowships, both Phi Beta Kappa and Sigma Xi visiting lectureships, and two honorary degrees.

In 1971, while on a visit to Vietnam to investigate the consequences of the Agent Orange-mediated defoliation campaign, he was invited to the People’s Republic of China, becoming one of the first two American scientists to receive such an honor. He subsequently visited both countries many times, was received by the heads of state and testified before several Congressional committees on his observations.

Since retirement, he has been associated with the Institution for Social & Policy Studies, and serves on its Executive Committee for the Interdisciplinary Bioethics Project. He taught a new introductory bioethics course in Yale College that in 2003-4 attracted more than 460 students, making it one of the largest courses in Yale College.

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