Gary W. Moorman was born in Albany, NY. He obtained his bachelor’s degree in botany from the University of Maine in 1971 and a master’s degrees in botany from the University of Vermont in 1974. Moorman was employed as an electron microscope technician at the W. Alton Jones Cell Science Center in Lake Placid, NY, where he assisted in the study of lung function using rats as test animals. That experience rapidly drove him back to the plant world! He received a doctoral degree in plant pathology from North Carolina State University in 1978. Upon graduation, Moorman joined the University of Massachusetts as an assistant professor of vegetable and floral crop pathology at the Suburban Experiment Station in Waltham, MA. In 1983, he moved to The Pennsylvania State University at University Park, where he has risen to national and international prominence as an extension plant pathologist of floral crops, shade trees, and other woody ornamentals.
Moorman is recognized in the floriculture and nursery industry for his knowledge, diligence, and accomplishments. To address the diversity of ornamental crops and their disease problems, Moorman has developed more than 180 plant disease fact sheets and posted them on the Internet as a resource for the ornamental horticulture industry, master gardeners, and homeowners, as well as extension agents and specialists throughout the world. Moorman has published more than 80 articles in national trade journals and newsletters. Additionally, he has developed more than 60 extension publications and distributed them through the state and northeastern regional extension systems to help address new and emerging diseases of high impact. Moorman has been in wide demand as a speaker, with more than 750 extension and outreach presentations in Pennsylvania, the northeast, nationally, and internationally. In 1995, he prepared guidelines and worked with the Pennsylvania Department of Agriculture through the state legislature to get the Pennsylvania Voluntary Impatiens Certification Program enacted. This rule enables secondary propagators to obtain Pennsylvania Department of Agriculture certification that their impatiens crop is free of insects, mites, and Impatiens necrotic spot virus. Moorman has received numerous awards for his excellence in extension. Among the most recent ones are the Award for Excellence from the Northeastern Regional Association of State Agricultural Experiment Station Directors for participation on Technical Committee NE-501 (Eradication, Containment and/or Management of Plum Pox (Sharka) Disease); Outstanding Extension Faculty Award from Gamma Sigma Delta, The Pennsylvania State University Chapter; and the Penn State College of Agricultural Sciences Cooperative Extension Director’s Spirit Award for Outstanding Faculty.
One of his strategies for developing a productive extension program has been to develop a progressive parallel applied research program. Moorman is well known internationally for his high-quality research and productivity. He has investigated the epidemiology and management of oomycetes, fungi, bacteria, viruses, phytoplasmas, and nematodes in a variety of crops. His program has produced one patent and 56 original research papers in peer-reviewed journals. He has coauthored book chapters and assisted in editing Diseases of Herbaceous Perennials and the forthcoming Biology, Detection, and Management of Plant Pathogens in Irrigation Water, both published by The American Phytopathological Society. He has also authored 19 other book chapters and numerous non-refereed publications. His major contributions to the science of plant pathology include his work on fungicide resistance. Moorman was among the first to report multiple resistance in Botrytis cinerea populations in commercial greenhouses to benzimidazole and dicarboximide fungicides and more recently to fenhexamid. Moorman and colleagues also reported the widespread occurrence of propamocarb- and mefenoxam-resistant strains of Pythium and Phytophthora species in the ornamental industry. Moorman rejuvenated his work with oomycetes by adopting molecular techniques to characterize Pythium populations found in commercial greenhouses. He and his students have advanced the taxonomy of the genus Pythium by separating P. cryptoirregulare from the P. irregulare complex using molecular methods. He is now delving into the biology of aquatic zoosporic plant pathogens.
Moorman views teaching and professional service as integral parts of his work as a university professor. Moorman has supervised eleven graduate theses and served on the graduate committees of 50 additional students. He has taught six different plant pathology courses over 56 semesters and given many guest lectures in other courses. He currently teaches Diseases of Horticultural Crops online. He was the recipient of the Department of Plant Pathology Outstanding Teaching Award at The Pennsylvania State University in 2012. Moorman served APS as councilor-at-large from 2006 to 2009; treasurer, vice president, and president of the Northeastern Division from 2002 to 2004; and chair of the Ornamental and Turf Diseases Committee from 1988 to 1989 and again from 2002 to 2003. Moorman also served as a senior editor for APS PRESS from 2000 to 2003, for Plant Health Progress from 2005 to 2008, and now serves as a senior editor for Plant Disease. Moorman’s prominence in extension and outreach and his excellent record in research, teaching, and service to APS make him deserving of the APS Fellow Award.
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