Dr. Edward Groesbeck Voss — 1929-2012
Lifetime Achievement Award Recipient
Dr. Voss was professor emeritus of Ecology and Evolutionary Biology at the University of Michigan, curator emeritus of vascular plants at the University Herbarium, and amateurs, he shared his passion for botany with them with an equanimity of zeal. He will also be remembered for his ready wit (often timely and clever puns), relevant comments in meetings delivered with an economy of words, command of every nuance of the English language, and his propensity to write “Letters to the Editor” of the Ann Arbor News that were incomparable gems. Ed Voss' father's professional life (having taught Latin at DeVilbiss High School and Greek at Ohio Wesleyan University and Denison University ) certainly fostered Ed's lifelong love of words and fidelity to grammar.
Dr. Voss spent his professional life classifying plants with great specificity into families, genera, and species. However, he more broadly defined the people he considered to be family to include those for whom he had great fondness; his students, his
A legendary teacher at the U-M Biological Station. He was born in Delaware, Ohio, February 22, 1929 to DavidO. Voss and Katherine (Groesbeck) Voss. He graduated (valedictorian) from Woodward High School (Toledo, Ohio) in 1946. He earned a Bachelor's of Science with honors from Denison University (1950), a Master's degree in Biology (1951) and a Ph.D in Botany from the University of Michigan (1954). He was awarded an honorary Doctor of Science from Denison University in 2003. Dr. Voss was a faculty member at the University of Michigan from 1960-1996. He taught at the University of Michigan Biological Station for 35 summer sessions. He also spent his childhood summers at The Straits where his parents encouraged his early interest in biology by taking him as a 9 year old boy to a “Visitor's Day” at the Biological Station.
Dr. Voss' area of scientific research was the vascular plants of the Great Lakes region: their taxonomy, identification, phytogeography, postglacial history, and status in natural environments—with special interest in boreal and aquatic plants. He was also interested in the history of biology (especially early exploration of the Great Lakes region) and in the Lepidoptera of the northern Great Lakes region. Since 1969 he was involved in botanical nomenclature, including service on the editorial committee (1969-1993) for the International Code of Botanical Nomenclature and as chairman of the General Committee on Botanical Nomenclature (1999-2005).
He was a Fellow of the Linnean Society of London, served as Rapporteur-general for botanical nomenclature at the XIII International Botanical Congress (Sydney, 1981) and was editor of The Michigan Botanist vols. 1-15 (1962-1976). The first volume of his Michigan Flora was honored by a Resolution of the Michigan Senate in 1972; the second volume received the
H.A. Gleason Award of the New York Botanical Garden; the third and final volume was published late in 1996. On February 16 of this year, the University of Michigan Press released Field Manual of Michigan Flora (co-authored with Dr. Anton A. Reznicek).
Not only was Dr. Voss an internationally renowned scientist, but also a devoted conservationist and educator. Whether his students were undergraduate, graduate students, or dedicated