Dr. Arlan Edgar Remembered for His Teaching, Research
Dr. Arlan Lee Edgar '49 is remembered for a distinguished career that focused on teaching, research and encouraging students to participate in scholarly activities.
Dr. Edgar, Alma College Charles A. Dana Professor of
Biology Emeritus, died Saturday, Dec. 22, 2007, at age 81. A
funeral service took place Dec. 31 at the Alma First Presbyterian Church.
He taught at Alma College for 35 years with a two-year break for military service. He began his teaching career at Alma the year after he graduated from the College and retired in 1985. By his own estimates, he taught 900 biology majors. During that time he worked closely with more than 100 students on independent research projects in addition to the thousands of students he taught in biology courses.
A strong advocate of student research, Dr. Edgar secured numerous National Science Foundation Undergraduate Participation Grants and helped students publish their findings in regional and national journals. Upon his retirement, the College established the Edgar Biology Endowment for Student Research in the biology department.
Through his research and publications he was recognized as a world
expert on the arthropod group Opiliones, commonly called
daddy-long-legs. He was involved for almost 20 years with the
University of Michigan Biological Station at Douglas Lake, first as a
student and then teaching the natural history of invertebrates.
He claimed that his greatest honor came in the form of unsolicited
comments from former students acknowledging the positive impact he had
on their lives and careers. He expressed joy that he was able to teach
the children of former students. One of his most popular courses
took students to Jamaica during Spring Term studying marine
invertebrates and constructing water and sanitary systems for the
villages where they stayed.
Dr. Edgar was recognized in 1973 with the Michigan Academy of Science,
Arts and Letters Citation for Scholarly Achievement. He was Alma's
Distinguished Professor in the Natural Sciences Division in 1981 and
received the College's Barlow Award for Faculty Excellence in 1985.
Besides his degree from Alma, Dr. Edgar earned master of arts, master
of science and doctorate degrees from the University of Michigan. He
was a member of American Institute of Biological Sciences, American
Microscopical Society, Phi Kappa Phi, Omicron Delta Kappa, North
American Benthological Society, and the Midwest Developmental Biology
Edgar was a charter member of the American Arachnological Society. In
1968, he served as chair of the Zoology Section of the Michigan Academy
of Science, Arts and Letters. He was a past treasurer, secretary, vice
president and president of the Central Michigan Club of Sigma Xi. In
1967 as a member of Beta Beta Beta, he was the association editor of
the northeast region of Bios, the organization's journal. Edgar was
elected secretary of the Ecology Division of the American Society of
Zoologists for 1976-78.
Posted: Sun, December 23rd, 2007 at 12:10PM