FSU Biology - Ralph W. Yerger Lectureship

Department of Biological Science

at Florida State University


Nominations for the annual "Yerger Lectureship" award are always open (see below).

The RALPH W. YERGER LECTURESHIP IN BIOLOGY was established in 1998 by Gwynn Collins Akin (B.S. Biological Science, FSU, 1961) to honor her former professor Dr. Ralph W. Yerger (https://www.bio.fsu.edu/history/obityerger.html), a Biological Science faculty member from 1950 to 1988.

The Yerger Lecturer will be a former undergraduate or graduate student of FSU or FSCW who has achieved a high degree of excellence in his or her career. The selection committee will accept nominations from members of the faculty, staff, students, and alumni. Because eligible alumni may excel in areas outside the normal purview of the FSU community, self-initiated nominations are acceptable if accompanied by a supporting letter from a faculty or staff member, student, or alumnus.

Selection criteria will include

  • A degree (undergraduate or graduate) from FSU or FSCW. Graduates from departments other than Biological Science (e.g., Earth, Ocean and Atmospheric Sciences; Chemistry and Biochemistry; Physics; Psychology; Anthropology) may be considered.
  • Superior achievement in a career in the biological sciences or in a secondary career of a related nature. Preference will be given to qualified persons whose contributions have dealt in a broad sense with some aspect of organismal biology—systematics, morphology, biogeography, evolution, genetics, ecology, behavior, physiology, psychobiology, health sciences.

The Yerger Lecturer will present a public lecture that will include an assessment of FSU's role in preparing the recipient for his or her subsequent career, a general seminar presentation of the contributions he or she has made to science and society, and an overview of the opportunities that prevail for current students after graduation.

In addition, the Yerger Lecturer will meet with interested students, individually or in small groups, providing further insight into the recipient's achievements and the challenges facing future biologists.

The Yerger Lecture Series

The Department of Biological Science offers an annual Yerger Lectureship award. The Yerger Lecture is presented in conjunction with the annual Fall Awards and Recognition event in the department, generally in November. Please send letters nominating meritorious candidates, addressing the criteria above and including a CV, to Janis Schmauch, administrative associate for the Chair of Biological Science (jschmauch@bio.fsu.edu). Please address letters to The Yerger Lecture Selection Committee.

Nominations for a given year should generally be submitted by April 15 but can be accepted at any time. Nomination documents will be retained from year to year and can be reactivated by a simple request and/or a letter detailing any changes.

The Yerger Lecturer receives a modest honorarium and expenses and a certificate recording the award.

Past Yerger Lecturers are posted on the Biological Science History Project site, at https://www.bio.fsu.edu/history/trad.html#yergerlec They are:

  • 1997-1998: Dr. Storrs L. Olsen (Paleoornithology: evolution of bird species), Smithsonian Institution
  • 1999-2000: Dr. Stanley H. Faeth (Ecology of fungal endophytes), Arizona State University
  • 2007-2008: Dr. Joel C, Trexler (Everglades population/community ecology), Florida International University
  • 2011-2012: Dr. Joseph Italiano (Cell motility, platelet formation and angiogenesis), Harvard University
  • 2012-2013: Dr Gerald Niemi (Natural resources research and avian ecology), University of Minnesota, Duluth
  • 2013-2014: Dr. Tiffany Knight (Environmental Studies), Washington University in St. Louis
  • 2014-2015: Dr. D. Bruce Means (Ecology) Coastal Plains Institute, Florida
  • 2015-2016: Dr. Michael Childress (Animal Behavior/Marine Biology) Clemson University
  • 2016-2017: Dr. Carolyn Coyne (Virology, virus-host interactions) University of Pittsburgh
  • 2017-2018: Dr. Claude Gascon, Global Environment Facility
  • 2018-2019: Dr. Rebecca Fuller, University of Illinois, Champaign-Urbana
  • 2019-2020: Dr. Sarah McDonald (Virology), Wake Forest University