From Plant Press, Vol. 18, No. 1, January 2015.
The Department of Botany is pleased to announce a generous gift in 2014 in the amount of $25,000 each from two of its former and current departmental members, Harold Robinson and Vicki A. Funk. The gift will create an award fund to support and sustain the work of early career research fellows conducting research involving Compositae (Asteraceae) collections in the US National Herbarium. The Department of Botany will make awards from the fund that target studies focusing on taxonomy, phylogeny, or anatomy. Robinson and Funk have asked that the fund be managed for future growth to increase the payout and that should the endowment grow to a sufficient amount, it could be used to support a postdoctoral fellow or even a curator focused on Compositae research.
The U.S. National Herbarium has a rich collection of plant specimens from the Compositae family (currently ca. 500,000)—one of the best in the world. This is due in large part to the long history of research fostered by the Smithsonian (over 150 years). In fact, since its inception, the U.S. National Herbarium has consistently hosted a scientist that studied this family and as a result, an enormous amount of research has been published (over 1,500 papers and books), including papers by Asa Gray, Benjamin L. Robinson, Sidney F. Blake, and José Cuatrecasas. However, due to the large size of the family (ca. 25,000 species), there is still much to be done.
This $50,000 gift established an endowment known as the Harold Robinson Endowment Fund (to be changed to the Harold Robinson & Vicki Funk Endowment Fund upon Funk’s retirement) in honor of the combined 80+ years of study of the family these two scientists have given the Institution.
Anyone wishing to donate to this fund should contact the Chair of the Botany Department, Warren L. Wagner (firstname.lastname@example.org).