WOOSTER, Ohio – An Ohio State University horticulturist has been appointed to the university's D.C. Kiplinger Endowed Chair in Floriculture in order to advance research and education and perpetuate the profitability and sustainability of the floriculture industry.
Michelle Jones, an associate professor with the Department of Horticulture and Crop Science, will hold the position for five years. Her term officially began on Oct. 1. Jones fills the position left vacant when former chair Anthony "Tony" Stead fulfilled his term in 2005.
"I am extremely honored to represent Ohio State University and the floriculture industry as the D.C. Kiplinger Chair," said Jones, a researcher with the Ohio Agricultural Research and Development Center in Wooster. "I look forward to working closely with the industry to develop and implement research, Extension and educational programs that advance the practice and science of floriculture. It is especially crucial during these tough economic times that the funds from the D.C. Kiplinger Endowment be used to conduct basic and applied research that will improve the profitability and sustainability of the floriculture industry."
The D.C. Kiplinger Chair was established in 1977 to honor Ohio State's Department of Horticulture and Crop Science faculty member D.C. "Kip" Kiplinger and his 40 years of leadership and contributions to the floriculture industry. Those in the position strive to promote Ohio State floriculture research, perpetuate departmental programs, and advance the national impact of university research and education. Marc Cathey, a noted horticulturalist and former director of the U.S. National Arboretum, was the first D.C. Kiplinger Chair.
"The endowed chair was established to recognize Kip's instruction, research and Extension efforts, which created a solid foundation on which Ohio State's current floriculture faculty continue to build," said Jones, who also holds an OSU Extension appointment. "As the Kiplinger Chair, my research will focus on floriculture crop improvement during production and post-production. These projects will look at improving production efficiency and sustainability as well as reducing postproduction losses, all of which can have an important impact on the profitability of floriculture production."
Jones received her Bachelor of Science in agricultural biochemistry from Iowa State University. During that time she worked on an undergraduate research project in the Department of Horticulture with Richard Gladon and Gail Nonnecke.
"This experience first sparked my interest in floriculture and convinced me to pursue a Ph.D. in horticulture with Randy Woodson at Purdue University," said Jones. "While my Ph.D. training emphasized molecular biology and physiology, I have always viewed these as essential tools for my research in floriculture crop improvement."
Jones has a unique background in both basic and applied research that will facilitate the development of multidisciplinary research projects that can address short-term and long-term research needs of the floriculture industry.
The Ohio State University Floriculture Program is one of the premier floriculture programs in the nation, providing producers, breeders and consumers with the research, education and technical skills to improve the cultivation and management of ornamental plants. The team is made up of faculty from the departments of Horticulture and Crop Science; Entomology; Food, Agricultural and Biological Engineering; and Plant Pathology. The diverse background and expertise of team members allows them to conduct research and create educational programs that better address the interdisciplinary needs of the floriculture industry.
As Kiplinger Chair, Jones will work to increase research and Extension collaborations between Ohio State's floriculture faculty and build collaborations with other academic and industry partners, as well as mentor and educate future leaders of the floriculture industry. For more information on the Ohio State University Floriculture Program, log on to http://www.oardc.ohio-state.edu/joneslab/.