Leonard M. Pike Endowed Scholarship

Dr. Leonard PikeOver 30 years ago, Dr. Leonard Pike joined the faculty of the Horticulture Section in the Department of Soil and Crop Sciences. As a full-time research appointment, Dr. Pike quickly established a breeding program for cucumbers, carrots, and onions. Within a short time, he was teaching several classes, chairing graduate student committees, and advising the Horticulture Club. With the large enrollment of undergraduate students, Dr. Pike was instrumental in the formation of the Department of Horticultural Sciences and the justification for construction of the Horticulture/Forest Science Building. With a vision of the future for the produce industry and with industry support, the Vegetable Improvement Center was established to ensure graduate student training in foods for health including plant breeding and related sciences. Over 50 graduate students have had Dr. Pike as chair or a member of their graduate committee. These students now hold positions at institutions of higher education, private companies, or research centers around the world.

This endowed scholarship is being established to recognize the research and visionary efforts of Leonard Pike to continue training the future scientists in the areas of foods for health including plant breeding, variety improvement and health promoting properties. Administered by the VFIC Director, this scholarship fund will be used to fund research assistantships for advanced degrees in the areas of foods for health including plant and variety improvement as outlined in the mission and goals of the VFIC. Graduate students must be trained in variety development that includes disease, pest and environmental stress resistance in addition to the foods for health area to meet the demands of industry and research centers in the land grant system. These students must understand interdisciplinary components of plant improvement including traditional plant breeding, quantification and isolation of bioactive compounds, molecular genetics and molecular markers that can expedite variety development. To enhance their knowledge in foods for health, students need to understand through hands-on training the role of these bioactive compounds through cell culture and animal studies. Excellent students are choosing to pursue graduate degrees at other universities because of higher salaries, tuition waivers and benefits. To be competitive with these universities, the Department of Horticultural Sciences and the VFIC, an interdisciplinary center, must have funding for competitive salaries, benefits, and tuition payments. This endowment will generate the needed revenue.

Fundraising Committee

Donors for Pike Endowment

  • Robert A Peterson, Chair
  • Bhimu Patil
  • Perry Adkisson
  • Danny Arnold
  • David Drews
  • Jimmy Bassetti
  • Hugh Topper
  • John McClung
  • Ray Prewett
  • Mike Kelleher
  • Steve Cargil
  • Connie Sebesta
  • Perry L. Adkisson
  • Larry Baker
  • George Bush Presidential Library Foundation
  • HEB Grocery Company
  • Central Oregon Seeds, Inc.
  • Anthony B. Crosby, Jr.
  • Kevin Crosby
  • Brian and Josefina Hamilton
  • Roger Horn
  • James and Kathryn Kelly
  • Thomas Longbrake
  • Melvin Mathias
  • James R. Melton
  • Edward Miller
  • Larry and Vicki Pierce
  • Connie Sebesta
  • Reba Showers
  • John Sorenson
  • Texas Vegetable Seed Improvement Association
  • Harold Thomas
  • Jairam Vanamala
  • Randall Wood
  • Kil Sun Yoo

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