Campus News

Odum School of Ecology to honor retirement of James Porter

The Odum School of Ecology is hosting a series of events Sept. 23-24 celebrating James W. Porter’s nearly half-century career of teaching, research and service.

The two-day celebration and lecture series begin Sept. 23 with a talk by Porter at 4 p.m. in the Chapel. The lecture will be followed by a reception in the administration building. A ticketed dinner celebration will take place in the Conservatory at the State Botanical Garden at 6:30 p.m.

The event will conclude Sept. 24 with a pair of lectures at 4 p.m. in the auditorium of the ecology school by the first and last students Porter advised as a major professor. The talks will be followed by a reception in the ecology school’s courtyard.

The lectures and receptions are open free to the public.

A marine ecologist who specializes in Floridian and Caribbean coral reefs, Porter had a career that spanned more than 40 years in education and research science. Porter’s lecture, “Butterflies, Corals and the Future of Humankind: A Last Lecture,” will be the culmination of his tenure as a professor and mentor.

“As the writer Brendan Gill said, ‘The work of a good teacher often does not reveal itself directly; it is reflected in the accomplishments of others,’ ” said  John Gittleman, dean of the Odum School. “That will be on full display during the school’s celebration of Jim and his teaching, as so many of his former students will attend and contribute to his ‘Last Lecture,’which, of course, is not really an accurate term. All great teachers keep teaching, as will Jim.”

Porter’s influence on the ecology program at UGA will continue in other ways as well. With a generous gift, he and his wife, Professor Emerita Karen G. Porter, have started the James W. and Karen G. Porter Endowment.

For more information, to purchase dinner tickets or to make a donation, visit