On Thursday, March 20, 2008, Dean Bob Elde announced the creation of the Douglas C. Pratt Annual Lectureship Series in Plant Molecular Biology to honor our esteemed former colleague. Many friends, family, former colleagues and students have already made contributions. It is our hope that we can raise $25,000 to endow this lectureship.
Doug Pratt received three degrees at the University of Minnesota—a bachelor of science in natural science education (1953), a master of arts in botany (1959) and a doctorate in botany (1960). After a postdoctoral position in the chemistry department at the University of Minnesota, he returned to the botany department as an associate professor in 1966, where he served on the faculty for 30 years. Dr. Pratt led the botany department and its graduate programs for many years. In the mid-1970s, he recognized the potential of plant molecular biology to have a major impact on understanding plant development. This early insight into trends in plant sciences resulted in the hiring of the first plant molecular biologist at the University of Minnesota. Dr. Pratt’s far-sighted research interest in the potential of wetland vegetation for biomass crops demonstrates his incredible creativity. Dr. Pratt was advancing biofuels well before its current surge in popularity as a topic of research and discussion. Dr. Pratt was also an award-winning teacher admired by his students.