Lana Koepke Johnson | Agronomy and Horticulture
Warren “Buck” Gabelman and Wayne F. Keim, University of Nebraska–Lincoln alumni, received the 2020 Department of Agronomy and Horticulture Alumni Lifetime Achievement Award.
This award is the highest honor bestowed upon graduates of the Department of Agronomy and Horticulture who have made significant contributions to their community, state and nation through professional service, public service and/or civic engagement.
Gabelman spent his 42-year career as an educator, research scientist and internationally respected plant breeder in the Department of Horticulture at the University of Wisconsin–Madison. He graduated in 1942 from the University of Nebraska–Lincoln with a Bachelor of Science degree in plant science and received his Ph.D. in botany and microbiology in 1949 from Yale University.
An innovator in modern plant breeding, Gabelman founded the UW–Madison College of Agricultural and Life Sciences Department of Horticulture’s hybrid vegetable breeding program. His research involved the development of hybrid germplasm in beets, carrots and onions, and the role of irrigation in the production of snap beans. During his career, he developed and released over 75 vegetable inbreds, hybrids and cultivars. Virtually every consumer of beets, carrots and onions has benefited from his breeding program.
Gabelman served as chairman of the Department of Horticulture from 1965 to 1973. The Plant Breeding and Plant Genetics graduate training program was started in 1968 because of his vision for a science-based program in plant breeding. He served as chairman of this program from 1976 to 1978.
Keim graduated from the University of Nebraska in 1947 with Bachelor of Science degrees in agronomy and mathematics and earned a Master of Science degree in 1949 and a Ph.D. in 1952 in plant breeding and genetics, both from Cornell University.
Keim made many outstanding contributions at Cornell, Iowa State University, Purdue University and Colorado State University in his 45 years of teaching, research and administration. He became head of the Department of Agronomy at CSU in 1975. Under his leadership the department became an international leader in soil and plant science teaching and research.
Keim was especially proud of the successes of his students. He was considered a master of education and a champion of students, and motivated many to pursue careers in agriculture and genetics.
“The primary responsibility, in my eyes, is educating students,” said Keim, reflecting on his years as a professor.
Full biographies of award recipients are available at https://agronomy.unl.edu/alumni-lifetime-achievement-award-2020
The award was founded in 2016 to recognize alumni who have enhanced the reputation of the department and the university by distinguishing themselves in their careers. Honorees are selected by the Agronomy and Horticulture Alumni Advisory Council.