Glenn S. Pound, Dean of the University of Wisconsin-Madison College of Agricultural and Life Sciences from 1964 until 1979, passed away on July 6 at his home in La Jolla, Calif. at the age of 96.
Pound laid the groundwork for the college”s current prominence in basic biological research, according to Professor Emeritus Leo Walsh, who took over as Dean when Pound retired.
It was Pound who convinced the university to add “Life Sciences” to the name of the 78-year-old College of Agriculture to reflect the school”s strength in fields such as genetics, nutrition, biochemistry and microbiology. At the same time, the one-time sharecropper, who once had ambitions of being “the largest farmer in Texas,” understood the importance of applied research and commanded great respect in Wisconsin agricultural circles.
“He led the college in a way that brought the applied and basic research components together better than they had been in the past,” Walsh says. “People with strong basic research capabilities were hired.” This positioned the college to take advantage of subsequent rapid growth in fields such as molecular biology and biotechnology.
Pound helped the college capitalize on a nationwide surge of interest in science sparked by the Soviet Union”s launching of the first orbiting satellite, Walsh explains.
“President Kennedy began a tremendous national endeavor to improve U.S. science and engineering,” Walsh recalls. “Research agencies like the National Science Foundation and the National Institutes of Health had tremendous increases in funding at the time. Glenn had a good understanding of both basic and applied research, and he was able to provide very capable leadership in taking advantage of that opportunity.”
During Pound”s tenure the college also took on ambitious international projects, helping to establish research and educational institutions in Nigeria, Brazil and Indonesia. Many CALS scientists worked in those nations during the 1960s and 1970s, and many students from those countries came to Madison to study.
Among new buildings built on campus during Pound”s tenure were Russell Laboratories, Steenbock Library, the Meat and Muscle Biology Laboratory and the Animal Sciences Building – the latter funded by a tax on oleomargarine through a political deal that Pound helped negotiate.
Undergrad enrollments more than tripled during his administration, with most of the growth coming from urban areas. The percentage of women students in the college rose from 8 percent to 40 percent during the same period.
Pound also served a stint as Interim Chancellor of the UW-Madison from July, 1977, when Edwin Young left that post to become UW System president, until Irving Shain was named Chancellor the following year.
An Arkansas native, Pound came to the University of Wisconsin to earn a Ph.D. in 1943, left for a wartime appointment with USDA, returning as an Assistant Professor of Plant Pathology in 1946. He conducted research on diseases of horticultural crops and developed several disease-resistant cultivars of cabbage, spinach and radishes. He served as department chair from 1954 until he was appointed Dean.
Pound was preceded in death by his wife, Daisy, in 2004. He is survived by his son Bob (Nancy) of Green Valley, Ariz; daughter Elizabeth (Frank) Fickle of Fayetteville, Ark.; grandchildren Christopher, Benjamin, Jordan, and Ethan; and his sister, Mary, of Colorado Springs.