Ever Evolving, Always Consistent

Department Head Letter 2018 from Jim BradeenAs we move into a new decade, I am struck with how our department continues to adapt and evolve with our changing science. This year marks the 113th anniversary of the Department of Plant Pathology! Over the years, we have trained generations upon generations of students. We have gained and, unfortunately, lost staff and faculty. The heart of our departmental home has moved from our early days in the “Tottering Tower” to Stakman Hall and now to the three building complex comprising Borlaug Hall, Stakman Hall, and Christensen Labs, with faculty, staff, and students also housed in the Cargill Building, on Research and Outreach Centers in Crookston, MN and Waseca, MN, and, of course, in the USDA-ARS Cereal Disease Lab. Our science has expanded to address new plant health challenges and to include new technologies and research directions. But throughout it all, we have remained steadfastly committed to the scientific pursuit of plant health, training future leaders in our field, and delivering global impacts on agriculture and the environment.

This issue of the Aurora Sporealis explores our continuing evolution and our steadfast commitments. Professor Ruth Dill-Macky shares her experiences mentoring undergraduate interns from across the globe, providing each student with hands-on exposure to our science. We detail how the Stakman-Borlaug Center (SBC) is providing international research experiences for graduate students, staff scientists, and faculty. You will read how the Plant Disease Clinic remains at the forefront of diagnosing plant diseases in Minnesota and beyond and how they are translating that information into action with real-world impacts. We’ve shared highlights from Professor Carol Ishimaru’s retirement in May and how her legacy of community building continues through the Carol Ishimaru Plant Pathology Community Fund. We also celebrate the many accomplishments and professional updates of our alumni.

“This is a great department”...it is something I never tire of saying and it is something I truly believe. Thank you to our students, staff, faculty, friends, and alumni for contributing to this community. Thank you for extending our impacts across the globe. We continue to evolve and we continue to support and build upon our core principles.

I hope you enjoy this issue of the Aurora Sporealis.

Polishing the crown jewel