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FAYETTE, Iowa (September 27, 2019) – Upper Iowa University professor of science/Robert L. Fox endowed chair of science Dr. Scott Figdore will open the UIU 2019-20 Endowed Lecture Series on Thursday, October 10. Entitled “Monitoring Plant Species Diversity in Fayette County’s Natural Areas,” the presentation is scheduled to begin at 6:30 p.m. in the Baker-Hebron Auditorium at Fayette Campus.

Figdore will review information on plant species known to be present in the natural areas of Fayette County during the early settlement period of the late 1800’s and today. The findings are based on the historic specimens housed in the C. C. Parker Herbarium of Upper Iowa University and other herbarium specimens collected elsewhere since. Figdore will discuss how comparisons between these two data sets can be interpreted and potentially applied to natural areas management.

The C.C. Parker Herbarium of Upper Iowa University was recently named to honor C.C. Parker, who became UIU’s first professor of natural sciences when its doors opened in 1857.  Parker was reported to have collected nearly 500 herbarium specimens in the 1860s and 1870s, including several rare specimens no longer typically found in the region. Thanks to a generous gift from Dr. James D. Parker, the great-grandson of C.C. Parker, and other Parker family members, the collection samples are being reviewed and information updated so that they can be appropriately recognized and utilized for archival or historical significance by the scientific community.

Figdore has over 25years of service at UIU, including time as the inaugural dean of the School of Science and Mathematics, before retiring from that position to return to full-time teaching duties. The Robert L. Fox Endowed Chair of Science – initiated by a generous gift from members of the Parker, Fox, and Goebel families – was first given to the late Professor Emeritus Lew Churbuck.  At the time of his honor, Churbuck was the curator of the Upper Iowa University Herbarium. Figdore assumed the duties of the curator position after Professor Churbuck’s retirement in May 2007.

The remaining 2019-20 Endowed Lecture Series schedule includes the following speakers and presentations:

Thursday, November 7 – Dr. Meghan Mettler, assistant professor of history/Maltbie professor of social science, “Gimcracks, Dollar Blouses and Transistors: How Americans Learned to Stop Worrying and Love Products Made in Japan”

Thursday, January 23 – Dr. Billie Cowley, master of education chair/ Laura Heddleson professor of education, “Mental Illnesses in the Educational Setting;” and Elissa Wenthe, associate professor of art/McCosh professor of fine arts, “Impact of Arts-Based Community Education”

Thursday, April 2 – Dr. Kata McCarville, professor of geosciences/Delano professor of science, “The Iowan Surface: A Megaflood Landscape”

Each of the Endowed Lecture Series programs begin at 6:30 p.m. in the Baker-Hebron Auditorium at UIU’s Fayette Campus.