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2023 B.Y. Morrison Memorial Lecturer

James Luby, Ph.D. 

Department of Horticulture
University of Minnesota

James Luby is a Professor in the Department of Horticultural Science at the University of Minnesota where he has directed research in fruit crops breeding and genetics since 1982. The emphasis of his program is to develop new varieties that combine a satisfying eating experience for the consumer with cold hardiness and disease resistance. His research aims to determine the inheritance of important fruit and tree traits and identify important genetic loci and DNA markers for use in DNA-informed breeding. Luby grew up in Wisconsin and his education includes a B.S. degree in Crop Science from Purdue University and a Ph.D. in Plant Breeding from the University of Minnesota. Under his direction, the University of Minnesota fruit crops breeding program has introduced and commercialized 30 cultivars of apples, wine grapes, blueberries, strawberries, and other fruits. Apple introductions include ‘Honeycrisp’ and SweeTango®, #1 and #10 respectively in retail value in the US in 2020. Luby teaches and advises graduate and undergraduate students in plant breeding and fruit production. He has published over 150 peer-reviewed papers and book chapters. His awards include induction as a fellow in the American Society of Horticultural Science (2002) and the Society’s Career Awards for Outstanding Researcher (2014) and Outstanding Graduate Educator (2020) as well as the American Pomological Society’s Wilder Medal for outstanding contributions to fruit breeding (2008).


Benjamin Y. Morrison (1891-1966)

The B.Y. Morrison Lecture was established in 1968 by the Agricultural Research Service to honor the memory of Benjamin Y. Morrison (1891-1966) and to recognize scientists who have made outstanding contributions to ornamental horticulture and other environmental sciences, to encourage the wide application of these sciences, and to stress the urgency of preserving and enhancing natural beauty.

B.Y. Morrison was the first director of USDA's National Arboretum in Washington, D.C. A scientist, plant breeder, landscape architect, plant explorer, author, and lecturer, Morrison advanced the science of botany and horticulture in the United States. His legacy to the American public includes dozens of new ornamental plants, including the Glenn Dale azaleas.

The B.Y. Morrison Lecture is a forum for a presentation on a scientific topic, trend, issue, or policy of the lecturer's choice. The awardee will receive a $5,000 honorarium, an engraved plaque and medal. They also, become part of a prestigious cohort of ARS Memorial lecturers, and are featured on the ARS website and social media platforms.


Nominations for the 2024 B.Y. Morrison Memorial lecture are now open. To nominate a outstanding senior contributor in industry, university or government, please visit the nominations page.