The I. E. Melhus Graduate Student Symposium, named in honor of Irving E. Melhus, features presentations on graduate thesis work that highlights research aimed at providing a better understanding of various areas of plant pathology.
In 1937, he and G. C. Kent wrote The Elements of Plant Pathology. From 1929 to 1946, Dr. Melhus served as chair of the school’s Botany Department, during which time he was instrumental in leading the department to national prominence. In 1946, Dr. Melhus founded the ISC-Guatemala Tropical Research Center for the study of corn improvement. This was the first overseas experiment station operated by a U.S. university, and Dr. Melhus led the program during its formative years between 1946 and 1953. A hybrid developed at the station continues to be the most widely cultivated corn in Guatemala.
Dr. Melhus was a recognized leader among his colleagues. He served as president of APS in 1926 and was elected a fellow of APS in 1965. Additionally, he was a member of the Iowa Academy of Sciences, the Botanical Society of America, and a fellow of the American Association for the Advancement of Science.
Melhus married Elizabeth Williamson on December 26, 1907. They had two daughters, Sarah (Hoyman) and Janet (Wallin). He died on November 10, 1969, in Ames, IA.