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Dirr professorship


first_imgBy Jason PeevyUniversity of GeorgiaThe University of Georgia has established an endowedprofessorship in the College of Agricultural and EnvironmentalSciences honoring legendary horticulturist and retired UGAprofessor Michael A. Dirr.The Michael A. Dirr Professorship for Woody Plant Instruction andIntroduction was approved by the University of System of GeorgiaBoard of Regents at its September meeting. It’s based in the CAESDepartment of Horticulture.The professorship has been filled by David Knauft, former CAESassociate dean for academic affairs. Knauft will maintain a woodyplant breeding and development program that supports theinterests of the horticulture industry.CAES Dean and Director Scott Angle said Dirr is one of theforemost authorities in woody ornamentals.“Dirr’s influence has left a mark on the horticulture industryand on the College of Agricultural and Environmental Sciencesthat will not soon be forgotten,” he said. “I’m very pleased thathis love for plants will remain at UGA through this professorshipand through Dr. Knauft.”Now retired and living in North Carolina, Dirr ran a roadsidefruit and vegetable stand as a child. That interest evolved intohis passion for horticulture.Dirr received both his bachelor’s and master’s degrees inornamental horticulture operation and management from Ohio StateUniversity in 1966 and 1971 and a Ph.D. in plant physiology fromthe University of Massachusetts at Amherst in 1972.In 1979, he became the director of the State Botanical Garden ofGeorgia, where he was instrumental in raising $3 million for thenew Visitor’s Center/Conservatory Complex and charted a coursefor a plant collections development. He returned to teaching andresearch at UGA in 1981 and was promoted to professor in ’84.Dirr has published more than 300 scientific and popularpublications and has authored or coauthored seven books. His”Manual of Woody Landscape Plants” is the most widely adoptedteaching and reference text in the country and has sold more than250,000 copies.With Charles Heuser, professor of horticultural physiology atPenn State University, Dirr also produced “The Reference Manualof Woody Plant Propagation,” which has become the standardreference for plant propagators.Dirr’s “Manual of Woody Landscape Plants” was honored by theAmerican Horticultural Society as one of the great garden booksof the past 75 years.(Jason Peevy is the capital campaign communicationscoordinator with the University of Georgia.)last_img read more