Odum School of Ecology to celebrate Eugene P. Odum’s centennial

Eugene P. Odum

Athens, Ga. – The University of Georgia Odum School of Ecology will host a celebration in honor of the 100th birthday of its founder and namesake, Eugene P. Odum, on Sept. 17 from 3-5 p.m. in the ecology building. The event is open to the public, and cake and ice cream will be served.

The program will include a welcome from John Gittleman, dean of the Odum School, and remarks by Betty Jean Craige, University Professor Emerita of Comparative Literature and Director Emerita of the Willson Center for Humanities and Arts. Craige is the author of “Eugene Odum: Ecosystem Ecologist and Environmentalist,” published by the UGA Press in 2001. Craige’s remarks will be followed by a panel discussion on “Ecology: The Last and Next 100 Years.”

A short film, “A Celebration of the Life of Eugene P. Odum,” which documents Odum’s 2002 memorial service, will be shown after the panel discussion.

Odum, who lived from 1913 to 2002, is often referred to as “the father of modern ecology” for his pioneering contributions to ecosystem ecology and for promoting the ecosystem concept throughout academia and to the general public.

Odum came to UGA in 1940 as a professor of zoology, where he focused his early efforts on establishing the science of ecology as its own discipline. During his tenure at UGA, he penned the influential textbook, “Fundamentals of Ecology,” which was first published in 1953 and is currently in its fifth edition. In the 1950s, he started the Savannah River Ecology Laboratory and the Georgia Marine Biological Laboratory, later known as the UGA Marine Institute, on Sapelo Island. In 1967, he established the Institute of Ecology, which became the Odum School of Ecology in 2007.

Among his many honors were the Crafoord Prize—often called the equivalent of the Nobel Prize for ecology—which he shared with his brother Howard T. Odum. He also held membership in the National Academy of Sciences and recognition by numerous organizations both large and small for his contributions to science and environmental conservation.

As part of the centennial celebration, the Hargrett Rare Book and Manuscript Library has organized a special exhibition of Odum’s papers, journals, photographs and other memorabilia. It will be on display from September through December in the Richard B. Russell Building Special Collections Libraries.

To RSVP, contact Lee Snelling at snelling@uga.edu by Sept. 10. For more information about the Odum School of Ecology, see www.ecology.uga.edu.