Series honors retired OARDC Director Steve Slack

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Dr. Steve Slack
Dr. Steve Slack, retired director OARDC, Wooster (Ken Chamberlain photo)

WOOSTER, Ohio — The College of Food, Agricultural, and Environmental Sciences at The Ohio State University has created a research lecture series in recognition of Steve Slack, who served as director of the Ohio Agricultural Research and Development Center for 16 years until his retirement in December 2015.

Qualifying speakers

The Steven A. Slack Lecture on Innovative Research in AgBiosciences will be given every year during the OARDC Annual Research Conference by a nationally and internationally respected scholar in agricultural biosciences who has made or is on a path to making significant, meaningful contributions to his or her field of expertise.

In addition to being regarded as an expert in his or her discipline, the chosen lecturer must conduct work that has a direct impact on the lives of agricultural producers, consumers, researchers or educators.

First lecture

The inaugural lecture will be delivered by Jan Leach, professor in the Department of Bioagricultural Sciences and Pest Management at Colorado State University. Leach’s primary study is focused on disease resistance, biomass accumulation, yield and health benefits in plants. Her long-term goal is to improved disease resistance and biomass accumulation for sustainable agricultural production.

This year’s OARDC Annual Research Conference will be held April 16 at the Shisler Conference Center on OARDC’s Wooster campus.

Slack’s career

Slack spent over four decades dedicated to teaching, research and administration. He joined OARDC in 1999 after serving as chair of the Department of Plant Pathology at Cornell University, where he was also the Henry and Mildred Uihlein Professor of Plant Pathology.
Slack’s accomplishments at OARDC included tripling extramural funding for the organization; leading an extensive review of OARDC programs and its economic impact in Ohio that identified three core investment areas (food, environment and bioeconomy); and supporting public-private partnerships, including the BioHio Research Park. He also oversaw construction of the Ralph Regula Plant and Animal Agrosecurity Research facility, the state’s only public BSL-3 Ag biosafety lab.

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