Dr. Irving Carlson joined the agronomy family as a plant breeder in 1960. He passed away February 23, 2019 at the age of 92.
After getting his bachelor's and masters at Washington State University, he earned his PhD in plant breeding at the University of Wisconsin in 1955. He spent four years at North Carolina State University before coming to Ames.
A key focus of his work was the development of new varieties of orchard grass and other cool season forage crops. In addition, Irving advised many graduate students from around the country and around the world.
In a memo to Dr. Carlson, former department chair Dr. Ron Cantrell once wrote "you have had a very productive career and have clearly established yourself as one of the leading grass breeders in the U.S. The varieties, publications, and graduate students give evidence to the productivity of your program. Another important indicator is the opinion of your colleagues and I know from conversations with them they hold you in very high regard."
Dr. Carlson oversaw the alfalfa yield test trials in Iowa and received the merit certificate award by the American Forage and Grassland Council. In addition he served as the Chair of Plant Breeding and Crop Improvement Panel. He was a member of The American Society of Agronomy and the Crop Science Society of America as well as honor societies Sigma Zi, Phi Kappa Phi and Phi Sigma.
Dr. Carlson retired in July 1993.