The Department Recognizes Alumni Achievements

July 5, 2017

Mike Wingfield, Distinguished Leadership Award for Internationals

Plant Pathology Alumnus Mike Wingfield DLAI AwardMike Wingfield is a worldwide leader in tree disease biology whose thirty-year career has been dedicated to researching tree pests and pathogens. The numerous discoveries he has made, in addition to the expansive body of work he has published, have both advanced the field and cemented his position as a world leader in the field of tree disease biology.

Wingfield attended the University of Minnesota as a Ph.D. student in Plant Pathology from 1980 to 1983. Upon returning to his native South Africa, Wingfield obtained a position as a senior agricultural researcher at the Plant Protection Research Institute, before serving as a researcher and professor at the University of the Free State and a Mondio Professor of Forest Pathology at the University of Pretoria.

On June 2, the department welcomed Wingfield to campus to receive his 2016 Distinguished Leadership Award for Internationals Award. This award is sponsored by the Global Programs and Strategy Alliance (GPS Alliance) and University of Minnesota Alumni  Association, and is an award for alumni, former students, and friends of the University who have distinguished themselves in their post-university work as leaders in their professional careers. There was a short award ceremony followed by a seminar given by Wingfield titled "Global Tree Health: Can We Win the Battle Against Invasive Pests?"

While Wingfield was here he took some time to sit down with us to discuss a few topics on video. That video can be watched here. For more information on Wingfield and the award visit the GPS Alliance website

Richard Frederiksen, Jakob Eriksson Prize

Plant Pathology Alumnus Richard FrederiksenOn June 20, the department hosted alumnus Dr. Richard (Dick)  Frederiksen campus. Dick completed his M.S. (1957) and Ph.D. (1961) with Professor J.J. Christensen (one of 2 faculty for whom Christensen Labs is named).  Frederiksen had an incredibly productive career as faculty at Texas A&M, with a research emphasis on diseases of sorghum.  Frederiksen's work was broadly international and his research provided many training opportunities for graduate students.  In 1998, Frederiksen won the highly competitive International Society for Plant Pathology Jakob Eriksson Prize.  This honor recognizes excellence in plant pathology and has been awarded only 11 times since its establishment in 1923.

Frederiksen remembers his time at with the department fondly and donated his Eriksson Prize medallion to the department.  His dream is that his medallion will inspire students to pursue a career in plant pathology.  On the 20th the department hosted an award ceremony and a reception in his honor with alumni and friends in attendance.