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SUNY names former Cornell professor as new ESF president

By Eric Rienhardt


SYRACUSE — The State University of New York (SUNY) has named Quentin Wheeler as the next president of the SUNY College of Environmental Science and Forestry (ESF).


SUNY-ESF made the announcement in a statement released today.


The appointment of Wheeler, a former professor at Cornell University, is effective “on or about Jan. 2,” SUNY-ESF said in the statement.


He’ll succeed the current president, Cornelius Murphy, Jr., who has served in that role since 2000 and will remain in the position until Wheeler takes office, the school said.


Wheeler is currently serving as director of the International Institute for Species Exploration and as a professor of natural history and the environment at Arizona State University in Tempe, Ariz., SUNY-ESF said.


Wheeler also served in academic roles for 24 years at Cornell University, where he earned the rank of tenured full professor. He was also chair of entomology and director of the Liberty Hyde Bailey Hortorium during his time at Cornell, SUNY-ESF said.


Wheeler also previously served as the keeper and head of entomology at the Natural History Museum in London from 2004 to 2006, and was director of the division of environmental biology at the Arlington, Va.–based National Science Foundation from 2001 to 2004, according to the SUNY-ESF statement.


The research Wheeler has conducted in his career has focused on the role of species exploration and natural-history collections in the exploration and conservation of biodiversity; theory and practice of phylogenetic systematics and cybertaxonomy; and the evolution and classification of insects, especially beetles; and public-science education, the school said.


In addition to academic honors and fellowships, Wheeler has also has had three species named in his honor, SUNY-ESF said.


He is also the author of about 150 scientific articles and six books, including What on Earth? — 100 of Our Planet’s Most Amazing New Species.

He has named more than 100 new species and writes a weekly feature on new species for The Observer newspaper in London. Wheeler holds bachelor’s, master’s and Ph.D. degrees in entomology from The Ohio State University, according to the SUNY-ESF statement.


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