Oswego biology professor earns high honor

imageOswego biology Professor James Seago joined elite scholars in his field last month when the Botanical Society of America awarded him its highest honor. Past recipients of the award include winners of the Nobel Prize and the National Medal of Science.

The merit award recognizes “outstanding contributions to botanical science.” The society’s awards committee wrote that, while Seago’s research is “solid and substantial,” he was honored above all for fostering undergraduate research and encouraging talented students to pursue careers in botany.

“If students do not enter botany, the field will wither away,” the committee wrote. “Dr. Seago has made remarkable and long-standing contributions to the flow of students into our discipline. He has the ability to spot interest and aptitude, to involve students in research, and thus to nurture their ability and interest.”

The committee noted that often in the past 30 years Seago has coauthored papers with students. At last year’s BSA meeting, for example, three recent graduates presented a paper coauthored with Seago.

One of the first students to study with Seago was Joe Armstrong, a 1970 graduate who is now a professor at Illinois State University. “It is notable that this is the first time the award has gone to someone whose career was spent at an undergraduate college,” Armstrong said. “No one can find another comparable-sized school that has produced so many botanists.”

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PHOTO CAPTION: Award-winning collaboration — SUNY Oswego biology Professor James Seago and Willow Eyres, a senior biology major, cut thin cross-section samples from a plant stem in the biology lab. The Botanical Society of America awarded Seago its highest honor, citing his work with future botanists among his “outstanding contributions to botanical science.”

(Posted: Sep 08, 2004)