Honorary Degree Recipient
Doctor of Science
College of Biological Sciences, September 25, 2009
David L. Dilcher received a bachelor's degree in natural history (1958) and a master's degree in botany, geology and zoology (1960) from the University of Minnesota. He received a Ph.D. in biology from Yale University in 1964. Currently, he is a graduate research professor in the Department of Natural Sciences at the University of Florida. He is described as one of the most outstanding and experienced botanists and paleobotanists in the world. He is known for pioneering a new line of research into the circumstances surrounding the ancestry and success of flowering plants and for setting the standard for quality research into angiosperm history through his studies of angiosperm leaf fossils. His study on flower evolution led him to China where he and a colleague, at Jilin University in China, presented evidence of a fossil that is believed to be the world's oldest flowering plant, at least 125 million years ago. This discovery and subsequent debate was featured in a PBS broadcast of a NOVA special entitled First Flower that featured Dilcher. He is highly regarded as a teacher and a mentor and he has been recognized for his scholarship by numerous organizations. He is the recipient of the Sonneborn Award for Distinguished Teaching and Research from the University of Indiana. He is a member of the National Academy of Sciences, a Fellow of the American Association for the Advancement of Science and a member of the International Organization of Paleobotanists. In addition, he was awarded the Guggenheim Fellowship (twice in his career), and was selected to serve as a Visiting Scholar to the People's Republic of China by NAS.
Biographies are as-of time of award presentation.