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Former UC Berkeley dean of agriculture Earle Gorton Linsley has died at the age of 89
06 Apr 2000

By Kathleen Scalise, Public Affairs

BERKELEY -- Earle Gorton Linsley, dean of the University of California, Berkeley, College of Agricultural Sciences from 1960 to 1973, died March 8 at a nursing home in Sonoma, California. He was 89.

Among many contributions to the campus, Linsley played an important role in transforming UC Berkeley's former agricultural college into the current College of Natural Resources, said Henry J. Vaux Sr., former dean of UC Berkeley's School of Forestry.

"Dean Linsley led the college in the years leading up to the creation of the College of Natural Resources," Vaux said. "He was very much concerned about the future of the College of Agricultural Sciences, and it was his leadership that enabled the college to retain its strength and to adapt."

At that time, "there were several departments in our college that could not be matched anywhere in the world," said Professor Emeritus Woodrow Middlekauff, an associate dean under Linsley for 10 years. "(Dean Linsley) fought to keep the academic strengths of these departments here on the Berkeley campus, where they originated."

Born in Oakland, Linsley was one of the world's leading authorities on the classification and biology of wild bees and wood-boring beetles. He also made contributions in related fields including forest entomology, the pollination of agricultural seed crops, and the study of insects affecting stored food products.

Linsley earned his PhD in systematic entomology at UC Berkeley in 1938. He began his teaching career as an instructor at UC Berkeley the following year, and advanced to professor of entomology in 1953. He chaired the entomology and parasitology department from 1951 to 1959, and then became dean of the college.

"He was truly an outstanding person, scientist and dean," said David Schlegel, former dean of the college. "He was always attentive, sympathetic and fair in his dealings with faculty and department chairs, and was keenly aware of the important role of the university, the college, the departments and the faculty."

A prolific writer, Linsley published more than 400 scientific articles and books. His many honors included the Fellows Medal of the California Academy of Sciences, the Centennial Medal of the State Agricultural Experiment Station and the Berkeley Citation, a high honor on campus.

After his retirement from UC Berkeley in 1974, Linsley focused on his other interests, including photography, sports, and a substantial stamp collection featuring birds, insects, flowers and other biological themes.

Linsley is survived by two children, James Linsley, who resides outside of Weed, Calif., and Joan Linsley McFarlane of Auburn, Calif.


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