UNL specialist receives lifetime award
September 03, 2015
Dr. Alexander Pavlista, potato specialist and crop physiologist at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln Panhandle Research and Extension Center in Scottsbluff, has been awarded the Honorary Life Membership (HLM) by the Potato Association of America (PAA) for lifetime achievement and impact on the potato industry. It is the highest honor given by PAA.
Pavlista received the honor at The PAA banquet recently in Portland, Maine. According to the PAA website, “The most significant way to recognize outstanding contributions to the potato industry is the awarding of Honorary Life Membership (HLM).”
Pavlista has been the Potato Specialist at the University of Nebraska since 1988, when he came to Scottsbluff from Princeton N.J., where he was a research biologist with American Cyanamid Co.
Pavlista was born in Prague, Czechoslovakia, and came to the United States in 1951, growing up in New York City. After receiving a bachelor’s degree from Manhattan College, he worked for two years at Oak Ridge National Lab in Tennessee.
Returning to New York, he received a Ph.D. from City University of New York in 1977. After working as a Research Associate for the U.S. Department of Agriculture for two years at North Carolina State University in Raleigh, he joined American Cyanamid Co. in 1979.At UNL, his potato work has centered on plant growth regulators and hormones, environmental response and deficit irrigation, vine desiccation, and the control of pests such as potato psyllids and early blight.
He released the cultivar Red Cloud and has published five book chapters on potato. He has published 42 journal articles on potato and 25 on other crops, such as corn, wheat, dry bean, canola, and camelina. His extension achievements include the website Potato Education Guide (cropwatch.unl.edu/potato), 20 volumes of the newsletter Nebraska Potato Eyes, 22 Extension publications (NebGuides and Circulars), more than 20 years of cultivar evaluations (many published in the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s “National Potato Germplasm Evaluation and Enhancement Reports”), and pest control reports and alerts for potato growers.
In nominating Pavlista, members of the potato industry said the honor was well deserved.
“I have had occasion to talk with several of the Nebraska growers that Alex’s research has helped. They were all highly respectful and grateful of this New York transplant and his many efforts to help them be better growers,” said Sam Thornton of Syngenta Corp. “His newsletter was anticipated and well read by many in the potato industry and Alex always chose timely subjects that would benefit all potato producers.”Joe Guenthner of the University of Idaho said “The PAA Honorary Life Membership instructions say that nominees should ‘have made significant contributions to the potato industry … from activities related to research, extension, education, production, processing, and marketing. Through PAA and through his faculty position as a distinguished potato scientist and educator, Dr Pavlista has accomplished that, not just for one or several, but for all of those activities listed.”
Phillip Nolte of the University of Idaho noted the award (HLM) was created to honor exceptional and supremely dedicated people like Dr. Pavlista.
J. Creighton Miller Jr. of Texas A&M University also said the award was well-deserved. “I have known Alex as a respected colleague for more than 20 years, have followed his career with interest, and have been most impressed with his extension work, including the website ‘Potato Education Guide’ and his newsletter Nebraska Potato Eyes.”
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Pavlista, Alexander [MC????]
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I believe that Alexander is a member of the Class of 1968.
McEneney, Mike (MC1953)
[JR: Thanks, Mike. Much appreciated.]
Pavlista, Alexander [MC1968]
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