By Amanda Garris Ph.D. '04
A gift from H. Laurance “Larry” Fuller ’60 and Nancy Lawrence Fuller ’62 has given wings to a research program at the Lab of Ornithology, with the establishment of the Fuller Professorship of Ornithology. The inaugural professor in this endowed chair is Irby Lovette, the director of the Fuller Evolutionary Biology Program and a faculty member in the Department of Ecology and Evolutionary Biology.
“The program’s very elegant work on the DNA of birds and other species has attracted scientists from all over campus and around the country,” Larry Fuller said. “We view the Lab of Ornithology as the number one scientific enterprise in the world that works with birds, and it’s very important in the training of students, which we value tremendously.”
The Fullers have demonstrated their commitment to student training with scholarship and fellowship programs across the university, including several in the Colleges of Engineering and Human Ecology, in addition to gifts for building funds and an endowed chair in the School of Chemical and Biomolecular Engineering, among many others. Gifts to the Lab of Ornithology dovetail with their personal involvement in conservation, through service to the Nature Conservancy and the LowCountry Institute in Okatie, S.C.
“The Lab has come to be the big-time leader in conservation genetics—the place to go for scientists,” Larry Fuller said. “We thought this would be a great way to be sure the absolutely top scientists are attracted to the Lab of Ornithology.”
According to John W. Fitzpatrick, director of the Lab of Ornithology, Lovette is a perfect example of the talent they seek to attract for endowed professorships.
“In his 13 years at Cornell, Irby has demonstrated extraordinary productivity in a diverse array of research directions within integrative evolutionary biology, regularly publishing milestone papers in top-tier journals,” Fitzpatrick said. “He also is an inspiring teacher and undergraduate adviser and consistently attracts outstanding graduate students and post-doctoral fellows.”
“I am deeply moved that Nancy and Larry are honoring our program at the Cornell Lab of Ornithology through this new professorship, on top of their long-term engagement in endeavors like the Fuller Postdoctoral Fellowships, the Fuller Evolutionary Biology Program at the Lab, and the Fuller Learning Center in Weill Hall,” Lovette said. “Their support of our students, scientific research, and the conservation of the natural world has particularly special resonance, since they know us so well.”