Virginia Gale Lee was awarded an honorary Doctor of Philosophy in Molecular Plant Sciences at Washington State University on December 13, 2010. Dr. Lee was hooded by Dr. Michael Pumphrey, Assistant Professor in the Department of Crop and Soil Sciences, with whom she worked while studying resistance to globally important rust diseases of wheat including the stem rust pathogen Ug99. Dr. Lee’s research interests focus on using plant breeding and genetics to improve crop productivity and stability in development nations. She was awarded the Ph.D. degree because of her potential as a scientist, her commitment to making a difference in this world, and the tremendous impact she has already had on plant science education at WSU. Dr. Lee, 24, passed away on December 31, 2010 following a battle with cancer.
Fund will be used to provide doctoral fellowship stipends to worthy students with research emphasis in molecular plant science or plant breeding and plant genetics.