University of Florida dedicates Vimla and Indra Vasil Library and Reading Room

The University of Florida’s horticultural sciences department now boasts its own library and reading room, named in honor of Indra Vasil, a graduate research professor emeritus with the department, and his wife Vimla, a scientist emeritus with the department.  The University has previously established an endowed professorship, the Vasil-Monsanto Professor of Plant Molecular Biology, in honor of Indra Vasil.

Drs. Vimla and Indra Vasil have been presented with numerous awards from the SIVB.  Indra Vasil received the Plant Fellow Award in 1999, The Distinguished Service Award in 2000, and the President’s Award in 2003.  Both Vimla and Indra Vasil were awarded the SIVB’s Distinguished Lifetime Achievement Award in 2007. The Vasils’ have made significant contributions to the development of in vitro plant biology and biotechnology by the quantity and quality of their research and through professional service to the field.  The Institute of Scientific Information has recognized Indra Vasil as one of the most highly cited researchers in the world in plant and animal biology. As President of the IAPB (1998-2002) and of the 10th IAPB Congress held in Orlando, Florida in 2002, Indra Vasil established a close working relationship with the SIVB.  This included joint publication of In Vitro Cellular and Developmental Biology – Plant in 2000, which continues today and has greatly benefited both societies.

The department officially opened the Vimla and Indra Vasil Library and Reading Room with a dedication ceremony on January 9, 2009, on the UF main campus. The event included a seminar by Purdue University’s Jules Janick, the James Troop Distinguished Professor in Horticulture, on art as a source of information on horticultural technology.  The library houses over 3,000 books (many dating back to the early 19th century), 90 journals, and master’s theses and doctoral dissertations. It features three study carrels with computer terminals. A librarian is available part time to assist with library use and research.

The library project originated as Vasil prepared to retire in July 1999. During a half-century of academic life he’d accumulated a huge personal library. He agreed to donate the entire collection to the department.  Besides Vasil’s collection, the library also houses books and journals donated by several past and present members of the faculty.  Dan Cantliffe, chairman of the department, said the library is a valuable resource that will be of great benefit to faculty members and graduate students specializing in horticultural sciences, botany, genetics, molecular biology and biotechnology.

Adapted from the University of Florida news release written by Tom Nordlie, with additional information provided by the SIVB Business Office

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