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Richard Gabrielson Student Travel Award

Colleagues and friends established this award in honor and memory of Richard L. Gabrielson.

Richard L. Gabrielson

Richard L. Gabrielson was born on February 12, 1931, in Riverside, CA. He received his education at Riverside College, San Diego State College, and the University of California-Davis, where he earned a Ph.D. degree in plant pathology in 1960. During his graduate education, he received the Campbell Soup Research Fellowship. He joined the faculty of Washington State University in 1960 and was stationed for his entire career at Western Washington Research and Extension Center in Puyallup, WA. In the early part of his career, he worked on diseases of several vegetable crops before beginning to concentrate on diseases of vegetable seed crops with special emphasis on seedborne pathogens. He played a central role in the formation of NCR-100, the North Central Regional Committee on Seed-Borne Crucifer Diseases, and served as its first chair. NCR-100 prioritized research needs for seedborne blackleg and black rot diseases of crucifers, encouraged interstate cooperation, and developed recommendations for control strategies. With his colleague J. D. Maguire and assistance from the ISTA Plant Disease Committee Crucifer Working Group, he improved the 2, 4-D test for seedborne blackleg disease (caused by Phoma lingam). Further work resulted in the registration of a safe, effective eradicant seed treatment for P. lingam. In addition, Gabrielson collected and incorporated several sources of resistance to downy mildew (caused by Peronospora parasitica) and clubroot (caused by Plasmodiophora brassicae) into breeding lines and developed precise resistance screening techniques for each. The discovery in 1991 of the black rot organism (Xanthomonas campestris pv. campestris) in several seed lots of western Washington-produced seed resulted in an aggressive research program to develop an eradicant seed treatment.

Gabrielson received the O. A. Vogel Faculty Award from the Washington State Crop Improvement Association in 1981, the Pacific Seedsmen’s Association Man of the Year Award in 1984, and the Robert MacDonald Memorial Grant from the Puget Sound Seed Growers in both 1986 and 1990 in recognition of his excellent research. He was a past president of the Tacoma Chapter of Sigma Xi. His international reputation for expertise in seedborne diseases of crucifers resulted in numerous invitations to speak in Denmark, Australia, Canada, Brazil, Japan, and China. He also served APS on several committees.

During his distinguished career at the Western Washington Research and Extension Center, Gabrielson served as chair for three Ph.D. and three M.S. students and supervised three post-doctoral programs. Although he did not have a formal teaching appointment, he was a regular guest lecturer in plant pathology courses at WSU. He was respected by and supportive of county and state extension faculty, often making presentations at grower meetings and short courses.

Unfortunately, Gabrielson’s health began to decline in the early 1990s, and he took early retirement, cutting short an outstanding career and his many contributions to the vegetable seed industries of the state, nation, and world. Dick died on May 13, 2000, in Council, ID, following an extended illness.