Chair’s message Spring 2021

picture of Ken Cameron

Dear alumni,

It has been an honor for me to serve as the Chair of Botany and Director of Conservation Biology for the past four years.  As my term comes to an end I find myself reflecting on the ways in which this has been a period marked by both great achievement and despair, but is now one of hopeful transition and optimism.  While NASA scientists were successfully testing a drone on Mars for the first time to search for evidence of life, biomedical scientists here on Earth were racing at unprecedented speed to develop a vaccine to save lives.  Across the world cutting edge solar and wind farms are being built while coal powered utility plants are being shuttered.  Our world is changing rapidly and will look very different tomorrow.  This is also true within the Department of Botany.  Through retirement over the past few years we have lost the scientific expertise of some of our most distinguished professors: Drs. Joy Zedler, Don Waller, Linda Graham, and Donna Fernandez.  Next year Dr. Bret Larget will transfer his partial appointment in Botany fully to Statistics as he assumes a greater leadership role in UW’s new Data Science initiative.  We are grateful for their many years of dedication to our shared mission and wish only happiness for these mentors, colleagues, and close friends as they take their next steps forward.  At the same time we also offer sincere congratulations to the Botany and Conservation Biology students from the Class of 2021 as they make their own life transitions.  Wherever you are today I hope that you keep looking forward, but ask that you also occasionally take a look back to remember where you came from and who you once were.  Our personal and professional lives are marked by change and transition, but our experiences and memories are everlasting.  Have a wonderful and memorable summer — On Wisconsin!

Professor Ken Cameron,
Chair of Botany & Conservation Biology