Edward A. Brown was born on November 12, 1948, in Bremerhaven, Germany. He received his B.S. degree in general agriculture in 1972 and M.S. and Ph.D. degrees in plant pathology in 1975 and 1979, respectively, from the University of Georgia. Dr. Brown organized the first formal extension plant disease clinic at the University of Georgia and was a diagnostician from 1975 to 1979. He accepted a faculty position with the University of Georgia as an extension plant pathologist for turf, forestry, and shade trees in 1979. He was Georgia Extension Program Coordinator for Plant Pathology from 1991 to 2001. Dr. Brown retired October 2001 as professor emeritus.
Dr. Brown established a nationally respected outreach program on diseases in turf and forestry/shade trees. He made major contributions to the health of Georgia’s trees and was instrumental in developing educational materials and executing Dutch elm disease control program standards for the United States and Georgia’s principal cities. His work in confirming the presence of dogwood anthracnose in Georgia and his invitation from the U.S. Forest Service to coauthor a publication on dogwood care and management led to the distribution of more than 500,000 copies of this publication throughout the East coast. He received the 1991 U.S. Forest Service Centennial Conservation Award for his contributions in dogwood anthracnose control.
There are an estimated 1.3 million acres of turf valued at $858 million with the economic revenues of the golf industry of $1.84 billion in Georgia. Dr. Brown has been extremely successful in evaluating research results and disease-control recommendations to reduce disease losses, while minimizing pesticide use to limit environmental impact. He has served as chair of the Turf Commodity Committee at the University of Georgia. He was chair of the 1996 Olympic Soccer Site Advisory Committee that provided the United States and the world one of the best-ever world-class soccer facilities. Dr. Brown is an active member of the Program Committee of the Georgia Golf Course Superintendents Association and also serves as Green Section Committee member of the United States Golf Association and advisor to the Augusta National Golf Club Masters Tournament.
Dr. Brown has served on the National Initiative Committee for Georgia in food quality and safety as well as water quality. He chaired the Georgia Pesticide Use and Safety Committee and developed a water-quality exhibit that won national recognition as the Educational Water Quality Effort for 1995 by the American Society of Agronomy.
Dr. Brown coordinated the first Pesticide Container Recycling Program in Georgia in 1992, which has become a significant annual educational effort involving 60 counties, resulting in more than 250 tons of containers being chipped in 1999. This effort was the catalyst for Dr. Brown to organize and promote the Georgia Clean Day Program with the Georgia Department of Agriculture to collect canceled or suspended pesticides from farms in Georgia. This effort has resulted in the disposal of 100 tons of agricultural canceled or suspended pesticides from Georgia counties since 1994. Today, the Georgia Legislature funds both these efforts. He served on the Pesticide Applicator Steering Committee and Endangered Species Committee for Georgia and has done extensive work with Georgia’s 4-H Long Range Advisory Committee. He has served on the Georgia Extension Publications Task Force and on the Extension Publications Review Committee and served for three years on the Affirmative Action Review Team for the Georgia Cooperative Extension Service. Dr. Brown served as president, vice president, and secretary/treasurer of the Georgia Association of Plant Pathologists and on the board of directors and chair of the State Membership Committee of the Georgia Association of County Agricultural Agents. Dr. Brown served as advisor to the Agricultural Chemicals Association of Georgia and advisor to the Georgia Crop Improvement Association.
Because of Dr. Brown’s dedication to agriculture, he chaired the College of Agriculture and Environmental Sciences Unity Tour Committee to acquaint new faculty with the breadth of agriculture in Georgia and how the college integrates its academic and extension programs to support and impact agriculture.
Dr. Brown was chair of the APS Illustrations of Plant Pathogens Committee and served as a senior editor of APS PRESS from 1989 to 1992. His interest in creative education techniques has led him to acquire funding of $1,000,000 to develop Distance Diagnostics Through Digital Imaging in Georgia. He established 60 diagnostic imaging sites in county extension offices with microscopes, dedicated computers, and disease diagnostic literature to deliver grass roots-generated plant pathology education to improve the profitability and sustainability of agriculture. This database programming and technology has been deployed in Texas through Texas A&M, Illinois through the University of Illinois at Urbana/ Champaign, Alabama through Auburn University, Louisiana through Louisiana State University, and Hawaii through the University of Hawaii. He continues to be instrumental in the development of the Center for Internet Imaging and Database Systems, which employs a project manager and three dedicated full-time programmers.
Dr. Brown has conducted more than 550 conferences, workshops, seminars, and training sessions, where more than 516,000 people have been taught the latest methods of disease diagnostics and control. In addition, he has authored more than 132 publications and has been an invited lecturer 35 times in 13 states.
Dr. Brown received the Achievement Award from the Georgia County Agricultural Agents Association in 1987 and 1989. In 1994, he received the Distinguished Service Award from The National Association of County Agricultural Agents and Georgia Agricultural County Agents Association and chaired the Education Committee for the 2002 National Association of County Agricultural Agents Annual Meeting.
In 1992, the University of Georgia recognized Dr. Brown’s contributions in public service programming by awarding him the Walter B. Hill Distinguished Service Award. That same year, he was recognized with the highest award the university can bestow on a public service faculty member, Walter B. Hill Distinguished Service Fellow, equivalent to distinguished professor. In 1999, Dr. Brown was awarded the University of Georgia Agricultural Alumni Award for Excellence. He also received the Georgia Golf Course Superintendent Association’s Distinguished Service Award and the Georgia Turfgrass Association’s Lifetime Achievement Award in 2001.