The Department of Zoology and Entomology was established in 1889 with F.L. Washburn as head. Prior to becoming an official department, zoology had been a part of the physiology program. Instruction in zoology began in 1868 (physiology having begun the previous year) and entomology was added in 1870. In 1895, F.L. Washburn was succeeded by A. B. Cordley, who expanded the department’s staff and instruction to include histology, embryology, systematic zoology, parasitology, evolution, and advanced entomology.
In 1902 the Department of Zoology and Entomology moved to Agriculture Hall (now Education Hall) and then in 1910 to the new Agriculture Hall (now Strand Agriculture Hall). Entomology became a separate department in 1914 and the department was known as Zoology and Physiology in the 1910s and 1920s. The department name was shortened to Zoology in 1927. The first bachelor’s in Zoology was awarded in 1932; in 1935, Alfred Taylor was the first to receive a doctorate in Zoology.
Bolstered by grants from the National Science Foundation and the National Institutes of Health, the department began another period of expansion after World War II. As returning veterans increased the school’s student population the department expanded staff, space, and laboratory equipment. Additional labs and classrooms were placed in Quonset huts, surplus army barracks, and the President’s old residence. By 1962, the growth of the department and the shortage of space reached a crisis point. In 1962 the Department of Zoology obtained permission to proceed with the planning of a new addition to Cordley Hall. This was ultimately delayed until 1965 and was finally completed in the fall of 1967.
Department heads have included F.L. Washburn (1889-1895); A.B. Cordley (1895-1914); George F. Sykes (1914-1921); Nathan Fasten (1921-1944); Kenneth L. Gordon (1945-1952); Ernst J. Dornfeld (1952-1976); Charles E. King (1977-1986); Christopher J. Bayne (1986-1989); Jane Lubchenco (1989-1993); John E. Morris (1993-1996); Stevan J. Arnold (1997-2003); John A. Ruben (2003-2009); and Bruce A. Menge (beginning in 2009).
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