No. 20 Article 1/August 27, 2010

Leadership Change at University of Illinois Plant Clinic

In late July, Nancy Pataky retired from the University of Illinois after many years of exceptional service as a plant pathologist, a one-time member of the Pesticide Safety Education Program (formerly known as PAT), and, during the last portion of her career, director of the Plant Clinic.

The impact of Nancy's leadership has been impressive. In 2009 alone, the clinic received 2,159 plant samples for diagnosis and conducted 902 phytosanitary inspections. The diversity of plant samples included horticultural as well as field crops affected by diseases, insects, or, in some instances, environmental factors. Nancy also worked closely with our weed science specialists to offer correct diagnoses when off-site herbicide injury to nontarget plants was suspected. Many student interns through the years were fortunate to work with Nancy, an important mentor in their professional development. Nancy was a dedicated member of our crop sciences extension team, and she will be missed. We all wish her the very best in her retirement years.

Fortunately, Suzanne Bissonnette was able to begin serving as the new Plant Clinic director and is continuing as IPM coordinator for the Department of Crop Sciences. She began her new role on August 9 and has been busy at the Plant Clinic every day since. Once the busy summer is over, she will transition to her new office in Turner Hall.

Suzanne is familiar to many stakeholders and clients in east-central Illinois from her service as an IPM educator at the Champaign Extension Center. From time to time, she was also a speaker at the January Corn and Soybean Classics held annually throughout the state. Suzanne received both master's and doctoral degrees in plant pathology from the University of Illinois, in 1987 and 1992. In recent years, she has served as the state Extension IPM coordinator, and she continues her role with this important program. We look forward to Suzanne's leadership and her infectious enthusiasm in working with stakeholders and clientele throughout Illinois.--Mike Gray

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