The Raymond J. Tarleton Student Fellowship Fund was established by Raymond J. Tarleton in 2009 to support graduate students in plant pathology research and encourage students to further their careers in plant pathology.
In 1957, former American Phytopathological Society (APS) President Helen Hart encouraged President George Fischer consider AACCI’s solution for handling journal manuscripts and a partnership with the American Association of Cereal Chemists (now AACC International); APS later adopted AACCI’s approach.
Several years earlier, in March 1950, Raymond J. Tarleton, a graduate student in the Department of Agricultural Biochemistry at the University of Minnesota, was hired by AACCI as a part-time technical editor and business manager. When the partnership between AACCI and APS was formed, AACCI President Arthur Kelman asked Ray if he was interested in managing APS’s business affairs. Ray accepted this offer, solidifying the partnership between APS and AACCI. Ray first was named technical editor of Phytopathology in 1964 and then was named executive vice president of both APS and AACCI in 1967. This fundamentally important relationship between the organizations has persisted to the present day.
As Executive Vice president of APS for 24 years, Ray helped APS become the premier professional scientific society it is today. Throughout his tenure, he oversaw the growth of the society and the staff supporting it. He had the foresight to place APS’s new headquarters in St. Paul, Minnesota. Nestled in an area with some of the country’s largest milling operations and thriving agricultural research programs, APS’s headquarters has remained in St. Paul since 1971. Ray played a key role in initiating the publishing arm of APS, overseeing the publication of the first of the compendia series, the Compendium of Corn Diseases in 1973, as well as numerous additional publications that led to the formation of APS PRESS. He also was instrumental in transferring Plant Disease Reporter from the U.S. Department of Agriculture to APS and developing it into the second APS journal, Plant Disease, starting in 1980.
Ray also played a major role in the development of an agreement and business plan with the International Society for Molecular Plant-Microbe Interactions. This plan led to the launch of MPMI in 1987 as the society’s third journal. As APS grew, Ray continually encouraged early adoption of electronic technologies, ensuring efficiency in operations and innovation of products and services. His vision has led to the success of APS’s online publications and communications initiatives. He also played a major role in the formation and launch of the APS Foundation in 1986 and served on the board as its first secretary.
Ray’s dedication to science and sincere interest in the needs of the membership of the society allowed him to lead his staff to deliver outstanding member value throughout his tenure. Ray passed away on October 28, 2017, in Tucson, Arizona, where he retired after more than 40 years of service to APS and AACCI. He left behind an ongoing culture of excellence and innovation that will endure for many years to come.