In ‘retirement,’ three emeriti profs reap honors

The UC Berkeley Emeriti Association has announced the winners of two annual awards, the UCBEA Distinguished Emeritus of the Year and the Dickson Emeriti Professorship.

David Wake

David Wake

The association’s 2016-17 “emeritus of the year” is David Wake, a professor emeritus of integrative biology and former director and curator of herpetology at the Museum of Vertebrate Zoology. Wake is known for his work on the biology and evolution of the salamander, as well as general issues of vertebrate evolutionary biology. Wake is commemorated in the names of the salamander Cryptotriton wakei (Wake’s moss salamander), the skink genus Davewakeum, the frog genus Wakea and the lizard Cyrtodactylus wakeorum (Wakes’ gecko) — the latter two named jointly after him and his wife, Berkeley professor emerita Marvalee Wake.

In naming its “emeritus of the year,” the association considers the accomplishments and contributions of a retired faculty member since retiring. Wake’s current research emphasizes analysis of evolutionary patterns and the processes that produce them.

A pair of emeriti, John Casida and Jack Kirsch, have been awarded the 2016-17 Dickson Emeriti Professorship, 

Casida was a professor of entomology and toxicology in the College of Natural Resources from 1964 to 2008, and has been an emeritus professor of the Graduate School since his retirement. He has continued to teach, conduct research and provide public service as a resource on pesticides and their uses and safety. 

Kirsch was a professor of chemistry, biochemistry and molecular biology at Berkeley from 1964 until his retirement in 2006.  Since his formal retirement he has continued to do research and teach, and has developed a number of  freshman seminars.

The professorship was named for Edward Dickson, a UC regent from 1913 to 1946. In 1955, Dickson presented the university with a gift endowment that enables each campus to make an annual $10,000 award recognizing teaching, research or public service by one or more retired faculty, or a salary stipend for emeriti on recall. The highest priority is for support of activities that benefit the campus and for which funding is not available from other sources.