Paul Gillan Risser, 74, of Norman, Oklahoma, died on Thursday 10 July 2014.

Born on 14 September 1939, Risser earned his BA from Grinnell College and his graduate degrees from the University of Wisconsin.

Throughout his career, Risser served as a faculty member in the Department of Botany at the University of Oklahoma, Chief of the Illinois Natural History Survey, Provost and Vice President for Research at the University of New Mexico, President of Miami University in Ohio, President of Oregon State University, Chancellor of the Oklahoma State System of Higher Education, Acting Director of the Smithsonian National Museum of Natural History, and Chair and Chief Operating Officer of the University of Oklahoma Research Cabinet.

An active leader in the scientific community, in 1991 Risser served as President of the American Institute of Biological Sciences.

“Dr. Risser was a gracious man and generous with his time. All of us at AIBS certainly appreciate all of the time and energy he dedicated to AIBS and to advancing science. He was a true leader of our community and he will be missed. Our thoughts and best wishes go out to his family and friends,” said AIBS President Dr. Joseph Travis.

“I was privileged to work with Paul during his tenure as president of Oregon State University. He was a great ecologist contributed significantly to science, whether working with students, leading universities, or contributing to national research institutions and initiatives. He will be missed,” said AIBS board member Dr. Susan Stafford.

Risser also served as President of the Ecological Society of America, President of the Association of Southwestern Naturalists, and Chair of the Board of Trustees of the Institute of Ecosystem Studies in New York. At the time of his death, he was serving as a member of the Board of Trustees at the Smithsonian National Museum of Natural History, Vice Chair of the Board of Trustees of Grinnell College, and the chairman of Oklahoma’s P-20 Council.

In celebration of his life and recognition of his unwavering commitment to education, the family suggests contributions to the Paul G. Risser Scholarship Fund at the University of Oklahoma. Checks may be written to the University of Oklahoma Foundation, 100 Timberdell Road, Norman, OK 73019.


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