Dr. Paul Gillan Risser passed away 10 July 2014 at the age of 74. Dr. Risser served at the 5th Chief of the Illinois Natural History Survey (1981–1986). After receiving his PhD in Botany and Soils from University of Wisconsin in 1967, Risser returned to his home state of Oklahoma, joining the faculty of University of Oklahoma. He also served as assistant director of the Oklahoma Biological Station, director of the Oklahoma Biological Survey and chairman of the Department of Botany and Microbiology before leaving in 1981 to join the INHS as Chief.
During his time at INHS, Dr. Risser oversaw the 125th Anniversary Scientific Symposium and open house and was author or co-author on 23 papers, book chapters, and conference proceedings. He published over 100 scientific papers and wrote or edited 6 books during his career, including the often cited "The True Prairie Ecosystem," published in 1981.
Dr. Risser left INHS in 1986 to become Provost and Vice President for Academic Affairs at University of New Mexico. In 1992 he went on to become President of Miami University of Ohio, before taking the position of President at Oregon State University in 1996. In 2002, Dr. Risser returned home to Oklahoma, as chancellor of the Oklahoma State System of Higher Education. He went on to become the Acting Director of the Smithsonian National Museum of Natural History, and Chair and Chief Operating Officer of the University of Oklahoma Research Cabinet.
Dr. Risser led a distinguished career, both in science and in administration. In celebration of his life and recognition of his unwavering commitment to education, the family suggests contributions to the Paul G. Risser Scholarship Fund at the University of Oklahoma. Checks may be written to the University of Oklahoma Foundation, 100 Timberdell Road, Norman, OK 73019.
Oklahoma State Regents for Higher Education
Oregon State University Library Papers of Dr. Paul Risser
Bibliography of works while at INHS