University of California, Riverside

Microbiology and Plant Pathology


Citrus Station Article

"Riverside Wins Citrus Station" article.

Citrus Experiment Station at Rubidoux

Citrus Experiment Station at Rubidoux:
Front-row (l-r): C. O. Smith, J. T. Barrett, L.D. Batchelor, H.S. Reed, W.P. Kelley, H.J. Webber
Back Row (l-r): E.E. Thomas, W.M. Mertz, H.B. Frost, H.S. Fawcett, W.D. Drew, R.S. Vaile.

Old department building photo

UC Regents agreed to establish the Citrus Experiment Station and Graduate School of Tropical Agriculture, with Herbert J. Webber as the first director.

Research in plant pathology began in Southern California in 1905 when the state legislature voted to establish a pathology laboratory and branch agricultural experiment s tation directed by Ralph E. Smith at Whittier and on the eastern slope of Mt. Rubidoux in Riverside.  The operations in Riverside were moved to what today is UCR when the UC Regents agreed to establish the Citrus Experiment Station and Graduate School of Tropical Agriculture in 1913, with Herbert J. Webber as the first director.  Webber instituted six divisions, including Plant Pathology.  James T. Barrett and Howard S. Fawcett joined as faculty, with Fawcett later assuming leadership and enjoying a long tenure that saw an expansion in both teaching (at the UCLA campus) and research topics, including diseases of avocados, ornamentals, vegetables and other crops.  Leo J. Klotz became chair in 1946, upon the retirement of Fawcett.  The University of California, Riverside was officially established in 1954.  John T. Middleton succeeded Klotz as chair in 1957. In 1961, graduate and undergraduate degrees in Plant Pathology were instituted at Riverside.  In 1963, James B. Kendrick became chair, and in 1964, the department severed ties with UCLA, becoming a UCR-specific department.

Since its inception almost 100 years ago, the Department of Plant Pathology and Microbiology has conducted cutting-edge research in plant diseases, provided advice on disease problems to farm advisors and growers through the cooperative extension, and trained numerous students for careers in agriculture. In 2007, the department changed its name to Plant Pathology and Microbiology, to reflect the broadening mission of the faculty in teaching and research in both Plant Pathology and subdisciplines of Microbiology.  Department faculty occupy key leadership positions in the graduate programs in Plant Pathology and Microbiology and in the undergraduate Microbiology major.

Reference:  The Centennial Record of the University of California, Regents of the University of California, 1967.

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University of California, Riverside
900 University Ave.
Riverside, CA 92521
Tel: (951) 827-1012

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Department of Microbiology and Plant Pathology
Boyce Hall 1463

Tel: (951) 827-3598
Fax: (951) 827-4294