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Department of Entomology

The Professor Donald A. Wilbur Endowed Professorship in
Stored-Product Protection
at Kansas State University, Manhattan, KS, USA

Eunice and Don Wilbur of Paola, Kansas created an endowed fund in 2010 with the College of Agriculture at Kansas State University to establish the Professor Donald A. Wilbur Endowed Professorship in Stored-Product Protection. Earnings from the fund provide financial support to an outstanding faculty member in the Department of Entomology working in the field of stored-product protection.  Stored-product protection includes all aspects of pest management and quality assurance for durable agricultural products such as stored grains, value-added grain products and many other non-perishable food products at risk after harvest and processing. Don is a native of Manhattan and Eunice was raised in Sabetha, Kansas. The two met when they both attended Kansas State University in the 1950s. The couple started the fund in 1999 to honor Don’s father, Professor Donald A. Wilbur.

Professor Wilbur was a faculty member in the Department of Entomology at K-State for 43 years and retired in 1970. Professor Wilbur recognized early on that commercial grain handlers and farmers were placed at serious risk for safety, and some were killed every year due to improper use of grain storage pesticides. He started a grain storage safety program for the proper use of pesticides and safe grain handling procedures for grain companies and farmers in Kansas. This program became so successful that it was adopted nation-wide, saving many lives each year. Professor Wilbur developed a special class for milling students at K-State to help them recognize and control insect pests of stored grain and flour mills. He became one of the early members, and the first academic member, on the Food Protection Committee of the Association of Operative Millers. Professor Wilbur trained many US and international graduate students, some that became national leaders of agriculture in Egypt, Mexico, the Philippines, Central and South America. He had so many foreign graduate students at one point that his wife Gertrude started an English-as-a-second-language class for the students’ wives! Don Jr. helped his father with training programs and pest control trials during summer breaks from college, and he eventually went into the stored grain pest control business as a profession.  Don became the owner and president of the Industrial Fumigant Company in Lenexa, Kansas, which remains a leader in the specialized industry of stored-product protection.

The Wilbur Professorship in the K-State Entomology Department provides critical financial support for teaching and research in the field of post-harvest food and feed safety and protection. Dr. Tom Phillips holds the professorship and is able to pay partial support toward a graduate student stipend, tuition, travel and research supplies based on annual earnings from the endowment.  Dr. Phillips teaches a class in stored-product protection, offers outreach and training programs to the grain, food processing and pest control industries, and he manages a research program with students and young scientists investigating improved fumigation, new fumigants, alternative food-safe pesticides, and new and improved methods for integrated pest management of stored-products.  Manhattan, Kansas is among the best places worldwide for research and development of stored-product pest management tools.  In addition to Phillips’s program in Entomology there are faculty in the K-State departments of Grain Science and Industry and Biosystems and Agricultural Engineering working on stored-product protection; the USDA Agricultural Research Service has upwards of nine Ph.D.-level scientists in Manhattan working on various aspects of stored-product protection; and industry ties to KSU are represented by the well-known AIB International, formerly known as the American Institute of Baking, which is headquartered in Manhattan and provides training and consultation on pest control across stored-product industries. Dr. Phillips has a modern laboratory on campus and collaborates with the Department of Grain Science and Industry that has key facilities such as the Hal Ross Flour Mill, the O.H. Kruse Feed Technology Center and the International Grains Program Institute.

Don and Eunice Wilbur are members of the K-State Foundation’s Presidents Club, a philanthropic leadership organization for friends and alumni of K-State. Don is also a member of the KSU Foundation Board of Trustees. “Our whole family, including our children ….. are truly excited about this opportunity to honor this wonderful, deserving man, who devoted so many years to his students, research and university,” Don said.

Philanthropic contributions to K-State are coordinated by the Kansas State University Foundation. The foundation staff works with university partners to build lifelong relationships with alumni, friends, faculty, staff and students through involvement and investment in the university. If you have any questions about the Wilbur Professorship or about how you or others can contribute to this fund, please contact Kim Schirer at the Foundation kims@ksufoundation.org , Dr. Tom Phillips at the Entomology Department twp1@ksu.edu, or visit the Foundation web-site at https://www.found.k-state.edu/ .

Read more about the history of Stored-Product Entomology at Kansas State University:

100 years of stored-product entomology