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Plant physiology professor William Kennard dies

by Sherry Fisher - February 9, 2009


William Kennard, professor emeritus of plant physiology in the College of Agriculture and Natural Resources, died Jan. 11. He was 87.

Kennard, who lived in Storrs, joined the University in 1962 and retired in 1991.

He received his doctorate from Pennsylvania State University and his post-doctoral diplomate from the Oakridge Institute of Nuclear Science. He managed the Institute of Tropical Agriculture in Puerto Rico for five years, and was principal investigator and research administrator for the Office of Experiment Stations in Washington D.C. for five years before joining the UConn faculty.

Kennard founded the Connecticut Institute of Water Resources at UConn and was involved in the early mapping of the Landsat satellite images.

“Bill Kennard was my advisor, my mentor, my colleague, and my inspiration,” says Daniel Civco, professor of natural resources management and engineering. “He was a visionary, having been an early adopter of remote sensing technology some 35 years ago. It’s an area in which this University excels today because of his efforts.”

Civco adds, “Without question, Bill was a scholar. But more importantly, he was compassionate, understanding, and caring. I will miss him.”

Patricia Bresnahan, associate director of the Connecticut Institute of Water Resources says, “I appreciate what a good job he did in setting up the Institute. He set a standard that we’re trying to live up to.”

The William C. Kennard Seminar Series sponsored by the Institute was named in his honor several years ago.

Kennard was a Special Forces paratrooper in World War II, and carried the discipline and values he learned in the army over to his life. He was a perfectionist, holding himself, his students, and his family to the highest standards. He loved gardening, architecture, and sailing. He was a voracious reader, a consummate wood carver, and a talented painter.

Kennard is survived by his wife, Leslie, two daughters, a son, grandchildren, and great-grandchildren. He was predeceased by his first wife and a daughter.

Donations in his memory may be made to the Storrs Congregational Church, 2 North Eagleville Road, Storrs, CT 06268 and designated to the “Welcoming All” accessibility campaign. Donations may also be made to AmeriCares, 88 Hamilton Ave, Stamford, CT 06902.


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