GDCB recognizes Horner for more than 50 years of leadership, service

May 9, 2019


Jack Horner and family
Joining University Professor Emeritus Jack Horner at his retirement reception are his wife, Cecilia, and two of their three children, Kevin Horner and Amy Strain. From left are Kevin Horner, Cecilia Horner, Jack Horner and Amy Strain. 

Jack Horner and microscope
Jack Horner and a Charles Bessey microscope.

The Department of Genetics, Development and Cell Biology (GDCB) honored University Professor Emeritus Harry T. (Jack) Horner for his almost 52 years of service to Iowa State University at a Jan. 17 retirement reception, which was held in the Molecular Biology Building Atrium. More than 50 people attended the event, including family members, faculty, staff and students.

Addressing the audience with anecdotes of Horner’s time on campus were GDCB Professor Eric Henderson, GDCB Chair Yanhai Yin, Assistant Scientist Tracey Pepper Stewart of the Office of Biotechnology, and University Professor Drena Dobbs.

Henderson said, “It has been a pleasure and an honor to work with someone of Dr. Horner’s caliber. His science is outstanding and his diplomatic acumen is without parallel. He has been an unwitting mentor for a rascal like me and for that I am eternally grateful!”

Horner’s tenure at ISU began in 1966 when he joined the former Department of Botany and Plant Pathology. This time was preceded by two years as a National Institutes of Health (NIH) postdoctoral fellow at ISU. While at ISU, Horner was a member of three departments (botany and plant pathology from 1966-1980, botany from 1980-2003, and GDCB from 2003-2018). He served under one head and six chairs, seven ISU presidents and many intermediate administrators.  

While at Iowa State, Horner served as the major professor for 27 M.S. and Ph.D. students. He also mentored six domestic and international postdoctoral fellows, and he advised eight to 12 undergraduate biological/premedical illustration (BPMI) majors annually. Horner was instrumental in the development of the BPMI program and its BPMI major in 1984. 

Among his awards are 2015 Distinguished Iowa Scientist Award, 2006 Centennial Award of the Botanical Society of America, and 2005 Iowa Academy of Science Distinguished Fellow.

Learn more about Horner’s time at Iowa State and his career through an article he wrote, “Harry T. (Jack) Horner — Retirement at last.”  Read a Question and Answer Session with Jack Horner

Jack Horner

Jack Horner's cake

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