Colleagues and friends established this award in honor of Dr. Joseph P. Fulton for the contributions that he made to the science of plant pathology through his research, teaching, and service.
Dr. Fulton, Professor Emeritus of the Department of Plant Pathology at the University of Arkansas (UA), Fayetteville, joined the faculty in 1947 after he earned a B.A. degree from Wabash College in 1939 and M.A. and Ph.D. degrees from the University of Illinois in 1942 and 1947, respectively. He has held the rank of professor of plant pathology since 1954 and was head of the department from 1959 to 1964. He was senior author of the popular Plant Pathology Laboratory Manual and taught courses in plant pathology, plant virology, and fruit and vegetable pathology.
His research included the development of techniques for the production of disease-free propagating stock and disease-control studies with strawberries and vegetables. He was instrumental in establishing the university-wide electron microscope facility at UA, and he developed the Arkansas Strawberry Certification Program in cooperation with the Arkansas State Plant Board. His later research focused on plant virology, particularly on vectors, transmission, and characterization of plant viruses until his retirement in 1987. He was the first to describe the nematode vector of Tobacco ringspot virus, and his publications include studies on nematode-transmitted viruses, virus-vector relationships of beetle-transmitted viruses, and the ultrastructure of virus-infected plant cells.
Dr. Fulton served as secretary of The American Phytopathological Society (APS) from 1967 to 1970 and as president in 1972. He served in several offices in the APS Southern Division and became a Fellow of the society in 1976. Dr. Fulton attempted retirement, however, he could not stay away from his lab “family” for long. Therefore, he worked for many years after retirement, mentoring new faculty members, as well as graduate students, particularly on virus-vector-host interactions.
Dr. Fulton is a kind and gentle person who has a habit of putting everyone at ease, especially young colleagues and graduate students in the department. Many of his graduate students have said that he not only taught plant pathology, but how to live worthwhile lives. Dr. Fulton was an avid outdoorsman, mainly involved in the skillful art of fly-fishing. With his aid, several of the faculty and staff also took up the sport and became enthusiastic fishermen, although some of his fishing buddies complain about his principle that “sports fishermen” should go by the “catch and release” rule. From his outstanding academic and professional accomplishments to his other passions, he is an inspiration to all he has touched.