Symposium marks century of discovery for U. of I. entomology department

December 03, 2009

CHAMPAIGN, lll. - The University of Illinois department of entomology celebrates its 100th anniversary in 2009 and will mark this milestone with a symposium Dec. 11 - two days before the annual meeting of the Entomological Society of America in Indianapolis.

Lectures will include "Thinking Like a Mosquito," "The Status of the Status Quo Hormone," "The Hungry Caterpillar," and - the last lecture of the day, by department head May Berenbaum - "A Termite Walked Into A Bar: A Century of Entomological Humor."

In 1909, the U. of I. Board of Trustees approved the establishment of an independent department of entomology on the Urbana campus. Although entomology as a subject had been taught since 1876, initially under the auspices of the department of zoology and entomology, the creation of a separate entomology department allowed entomologists on the campus to chart their own course. For the next century, Illinois entomologists have helped to set the standard for the discipline nationwide.

Each session of the symposium will be organized around a distinguished past faculty member who has made a lasting contribution in an area of insect science, and will feature an invited alumni speaker working in that area.

Each session will be introduced and chaired by a U. of I. entomologist, who will present a brief biography of the honoree and a brief overview of his or her own work as it relates to the faculty pioneer.

Berenbaum's "profusely illustrated" dinner talk will recount 100 years of entomological humor.

The lunch-hour lecture, "The Entangled History of Darwin, Lincoln and Illinois Entomology," given by Gene Kritsky (who earned his doctorate in entomology at Illinois in 1977), is open to the public and will include the presentation of the newly established Centennial Award to David Stone (who earned his master's degree in entomology at Illinois in 1982) for distinguished achievement in entomology teaching at the K-12 level.
(To see a slide show about the history of the department, go to:

For more information, visit

Editor's note: To reach May Berenbaum call 217- 333-7784; e-mail

University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign

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