Robert P. Mulrooney received his B.A. in biological sciences in 1972 from the University of Delaware and his M.S. in plant pathology in 1974 also from the University of Delaware. Bob has been an extension professional at the University of Delaware since 1974 starting his career as an Extension agent in Kent County. In 1977 he was promoted to Extension Plant Pathologist based in the College of Agriculture and Natural Resources in Newark, Delaware. He provides educational programs for growers, county agents, specialists, Master Gardeners and homeowners on plant disease diagnosis and control. Bob also established the Plant Diagnostic Clinic and the University of Delaware Nematode Assay Program and continues to provide nematode information to growers. Bob conducts applied research on chemical and cultural control of plant diseases of soybean, small grains, vegetables and ornamental plants and has published widely on his findings in applied journals. His extension teaching has included numerous talks at commodity group meetings, Extension agent trainings, Certified Crop Advisor trainings, and Master Gardener trainings. Bob has also taught short courses on pests and pathogens of ornamentals at Longwood Gardens and the Barnes Foundation near Philadelphia. Of particular significance is his role as the organizer of the historic NJ-DelMarVa-PA Plant Pathology Association’s annual meeting at the University of Delaware for many years.
Bob’s Extension research program has included work on race determination and control of soybean cyst nematode in Delaware. Bob worked on potato pink rot in Delaware, including identification of the pathogen, Phytophthora nicotianae, and chemical control testing. He served on graduate committees for students working on projects with lima bean downy mildew, while carrying on an extensive chemical control testing program for this disease. Bob has had dogwood powdery mildew and rose black spot test plots on the UD farm, and directed forecasting programs for potato late blight, Stewart’s wilt of corn, and others. He has been involved in the National Plant Diagnostic Network as a representative from Delaware, and has led the efforts in Delaware to detect Asian soybean rust. Bob has maintained sentinel plots and soybean test plots, as well as managed information for the USDA IPM PIPE efforts on soybean rust.
Bob has received many honors for his extension work. He has been the recipient of the Distinguished Service Award of the National Association of County Agricultural Agents (1989), the Southern Soybean Disease Workers Past President Award (1997) and Distinguished Service Award (2001), the University of Delaware Extension Team Award for Implementing an IPM Program to Combat Late Blight of Potato (1997) and the Team Award for the Integration of Extension and Research for his work on downy mildew of lima bean (2005). He is also the recipient of the Distinguished Service Award from the Delaware Vegetable Growers Association (2000), the University of Delaware Cooperative Extension Director’s Spirit Award (2005), and the Extension Ornamentals Team Award (2006).
Bob has been an active member of APS for many years. He served APS as a member of the Extension Committee (1982-85) , the New Fungicide and Nematicide Data Committee (1993-1996), and the Ornamental Disease Committee, present. Bob has been a reviewer for numerous Plant Disease articles and acted as the Interim Editor-in-Chief for Phytopathology News in 2001. In the Potomac Division he served with distinction as Vice-President (1998-99) and President (1999-2000), Executive Committee, chair of the Local Arrangements Committee and Program Committee (2000), Audit Committee, Graduate Student Awards Committee, and Nominations Committee.
Let us all join in bestowing this Distinguished Service Award to Robert P. Mulrooney.