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J.C. Walker Recieves Highest Honor From Horticulture Society

The late John C. Walker, an emeritus plant pathologist at the University of Wisconsin-Madison, has received the Hall of Fame Award from the American Society for Horticultural Science. John Andrews, chairman of the Department of Plant Pathology, accepted the award for Walker, who died in 1994 at the age of 101.

The award recognizes pioneers in horticulture whose achievements have contributed to the science and profession of horticulture, and to the greater public good. The award was presented July 25 during the Society”s 98th annual meeting in Sacramento. Calif.

Walker was one of the leading agricultural researchers of the 20th century. His studies showing that genes control a plant”s resistance to diseases led to the development of modern plant pathology. His work had a profound impact on the productivity of vegetable crops grown in Wisconsin and throughout the world.

A member of the College of Agricultural and Life Sciences from 1919 until his retirement in 1964, Walker developed disease-resistant varieties of cabbage, onions, beans, peas, beets, potatoes and cucumbers. Several times during the first half of the century, Walker”s research prevented the collapse of key segments of the state”s multimillion-dollar vegetable processing industry. His research also made vegetable production possible in many areas of the world where diseases previously had decimated crops.

Walker received numerous awards from industry groups and the scientific community during his career. Notable among these honors was the $50,000 Wolf Foundation Prize in Agriculture, which he received in 1978. He was a member of the National Academy of Sciences and a recipient of the Merit Award of the Botanical Society of America.

Walker is the third professor from the College of Agricultural and Life Sciences to receive the award since its inception in 1989. Horticulture professors Warren Gabelman and C.E. Peterson also have received the honor.

The American Society for Horticultural Science promotes and encourages scientific research and education in horticulture within the United States and throughout the world. The society”s 4,000 members represent all areas of horticulture.