Stephen F. Austin State University

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SFA's William W. Gibson Entomarium to host open house, dedication ceremony

April 7, 2014 - University Marketing Communications
NACOGDOCHES, Texas - The Stephen F. Austin State University Department of Biology will host the official opening of the William W. Gibson Entomarium at 1 p.m. Monday, April 14, in the Miller Science Building, Room 209.

In 1962, Dr. William Gibson began teaching in SFA's Department of Biology. He designed the invertebrate natural history collection space for the new E. L. Miller Science Building, which was constructed in 1964. Following this achievement, Gibson, his colleagues and students combined their efforts to build a major natural history collection. This collection has grown into one of the largest collections of invertebrates in Texas and contributes significantly to the research and educational mission of SFA's College of Sciences and Mathematics.

The collection includes a variety of specialized sections and highlights Gibson's contributions to the understanding of the beetle family Scarabaeidae, a group of large, economic significance. Gibson is one of the few nationally-recognized specialists who can identify specimens of this family, and he has bestowed a large, invaluable collection of these beetles to the university.

Due to Gibson's infectious enthusiasm and ability to motivate others to contribute, a number of former students also have added specimens from their world travels to the collection. Items from Colombia, Peru and New Guinea have been donated. Recently, Herbert A. Pase III, SFA alumnus (B.S. in forestry, 1968; M.S. forestry, 1971), donated a large collection of insect specimens from Thailand, which were collected while he was stationed abroad in the 1960s and 1970s. This collection also will be on display during the open house.

For more than 40 years, Gibson was the faculty sponsor for the SFA Biology Club. He was presented the SFA Distinguished Professor Award in 1974, becoming one of the earliest faculty members to receive this distinction. He is fondly remembered by students for his energy and enthusiasm in the classroom and his ability to communicate about nature's wonders. Former students often visit the entomarium to reminisce about their experiences in his classes.

In 2007, at the request of the Department of Biology and the Arthur Temple College of Forestry and Agriculture, the SFA Board of Regents approved naming the collection in Gibson's honor. Gibson has since retired after 49 years of service to SFA, education and the biological sciences.

Former students, colleagues and friends of Gibson's are invited to attend the open house and dedication ceremony, along with anyone interested in entomology. For more information, contact Dr. Dan Bennett at (936) 468-2347.