Regents' Proceedings 90
Edward G. Voss, professor of botany and curator of vascular plants,
retired from active faculty status on August 31, 1996.
Professor Voss received his B.A. degree from Denison University in
1950 and his M.A. and Ph.D. degrees from the University of Michigan in
1951 and 1954, respectively. He joined the University in 1956 as a research
associate at the Herbarium and was appointed assistant professor of botany
in 1960. He was promoted to associate professor in 1963, professor in 1969,
and has served as curator of vascular plants since 1961.
Professor Voss' principal research project has been the preparation of
his three volume series, Michigan Flora, which is the first comprehensive
guide to the native and naturalized seed plants of Michigan. To produce
these books, Professor Voss has spent over 40 years collecting extensively
throughout the state and examining essentially all of the herbarium
specimens collected by his predecessors. Interpretation of those early
collections required a review of the history of botanical exploration in the
region, and the resulting publications thus represent a significant
contribution to the Michigan historical literature. As a result of his efforts,
Michigan now has the best regional flora books in the country, as recognized
by his receipt of the Henry Allan Gleason Award from the New York
Botanical Garden in 1986. The third and final volume of the Flora series
will be published late in 1996.
In his role as the leading authority on a large flora in an era of
growing awareness of and interest in threatened biological diversity,
Professor Voss has long been active in and in demand as a speaker for
numerous organizations concerned with conservation and natural history.
His enthusiasm and communication skills have also brought him great
success as a teacher. He has introduced generations of biologists to field
botany at the UM Biological Station at Douglas Lake, where they absorbed
his encyclopedic knowledge even as they sank into the bogs, swatted the
mosquitoes, and groaned at his puns.
Beyond Michigan, Professor Voss is known throughout the world for
his expertise in plant nomenclature, the esoteric body of rules and traditions
that govern the naming of plants. Mention his name in Paris, Berlin, or
Sydney and the smiles of recognition will be accompanied by anecdotes
about his able leadership through the thickets of thorny nomenclatural
The Regents now salute this faculty member by naming Edward G.
Voss professor emeritus of botany and curator emeritus of vascular plants.