Locally famous for his creation of the ever popular “Magical Mushrooms and Mischievous Molds” course, George Hudler, recently appointed Emeritus Professor in the SIPS Section of Plant Pathology and Plant-Microbe Biology, reflected Wednesday on his career in plant pathology.
Entitled “40 years in 40 minutes”, Hudler’s talk began with a description of his training in forest pathology at the University of Minnesota and Colorado State University. Life lessons from these early years included learning the significance of good mentorship and the value of teaching from personal experience.
Arriving at Cornell in 1976, Hudler’s research and extension program focused on a series of tree diseases, addressing needs within the state as they arose. Among these were Scleroderris canker, dogwood anthracnose, tar spot of Norway maple, and bleeding canker of European beech. Life lessons from his time at Cornell included the merits of being humble about your abilities, that not all diseases need to be treated, and that ecosystems can display surprising resiliency.
Hudler chose not to discuss his twenty years of teaching “Magical Mushrooms and Mischievous Molds” claiming that the course warrants its own story. Instead, he closed with a passionate call to the younger generation to reach out to non-scientists with compassion and humility and to better communicate the value and process of science during this time of rapidly declining public confidence.