Carol Ishimaru: Building Community at Plant Pathology

Carol Ishimaru

Community makes a difference. The Department of Plant Pathology at the University of Minnesota is more than a group of students, staff, and faculty. It is a community built on the shared goals of feeding the world sustainability and protecting the environment through science-based best practices. We work hard in classrooms, fields, greenhouses, and laboratories. But we also take time to celebrate our shared goals and our differences and to get to know each other as individuals and professionals. A sense of “belonging” to a field of study and a professional community that has global (and local) impacts is one of the attributes that sets our department apart, fostering collaboration and continuous professional growth.

Over our 113 year history, the Department of Plant Pathology has gone above and beyond to foster community through professional development and social events. Just leaf through early editions of the Aurora Sporealis to read about road trips to professional meetings, the Thursday Night Seminar, or the monthly birthday club. Since 1975 the students have faced off with the staff and faculty in the annual Stakman Softball Game. More than a decade ago, the department launched a highly successful weekly coffee hour hosted by a rotating roster of labs. And today we send our newest graduate students and their advisors on a road trip to visit the Norman Borlaug homestead and to participate in the World Food Prize Borlaug Dialogue in Des Moines, Iowa.

On May 30th, 2019 we celebrated the retirement of Carol Ishimaru. Carol has been an esteemed member of the University of Minnesota for 15 years, and she will be greatly missed by students and colleagues alike. We have all benefited from her innovative teaching style, which has made her one of the most popular professors on campus, and from her empirical research, which has been an inspiration to us all.

The Carol Ishimaru Plant Pathology Community Fund is named in honor of Plant Pathology Professor and Department Head Carol Ishimaru in recognition of her transformative contributions to the discipline and the department. This fund supports a culture of shared experiences and departmental community in the College of Food, Agriculture, and Natural Resource Sciences through financial support of activities, events, workshops, seminars, etc. that foster, build and maintain professional and interpersonal interactions. Funds may be used at the discretion of the department head to support activities that build or maintain a positive and productive learning, teaching, and working environment in the department.

On Thursday, November 14th, 2019 the Department of Plant Pathology participated in the statewide giving day Give to the Max. During Give to the Max Day The Carol Ishimaru Plant Pathology Community Fund received a staggering $3,490 in donations which exceeded the goal of $2,500.