Wright retires after 35 years at UNL

Wright retires after 35 years at UNL

Everyone is invited to a retirement reception for Dr. Bob Wright, Jan. 18, 2024, 3-5 p.m. in the Nebraska East Union.

Wednesday, January 10, 2024

Dr. Bob WrightThe public and the university community are cordially invited to a retirement celebration for Dr. Robert "Bob" Wright on Thursday, Jan. 18, from 3-5 p.m. in the Nebraska East Union. Wright retired Dec. 21, 2023, after 35 years at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln serving as a professor of Entomology and Extension Specialist.

"Bob Wright is the consummate Extension specialist, mentor, and colleague," Dr. John Ruberson, Entomology professor and department head, said. "His career is rich with building others in myriad ways. He serves prolifically and without fanfare, never placing himself in the spotlight. His knowledge is expansive, and freely yet appropriately offered to all comers."

Wright's program focused on agronomic insect pest management research and extension. His research contributed to insect pest management in corn, soybeans, wheat, sorghum, and alfalfa. At UNL he has served as Nebraska Extension IPM Coordinator since 1988, as Chair and Member of the Entomology Promotion & Tenure and Graduate Committees, and several Nebraska Extension committees.

He has mentored 11 Master's of Science students and seven Ph.D. students as either Chair or Co-Chair of their supervisory committees. Wright also served on the supervisory committees for 21 Doctor of Plant Health (DPH) students. Additionally, he has served as a member of numerous M.S. and Ph.D. Supervisory committees in the UNL Entomology and Agronomy departments.

In addition to his research and Extension duties, Wright taught an online graduate Entomology course, ENTO 825, Management of Agronomic Insects, in the fall of even years from 2008-2022, and was co-instructor for ENTO 888, Online MS Project, offered every semester, 2015-2023.

"Bob has had an immeasurably positive impact on the state, his discipline, and the professional and personal lives of countless people," Ruberson said. "He genuinely personifies the mantra that every person and every interaction matters, and he will be greatly missed. We wish him the very happiest of times in retirement." Wright has been approved for Emeritus status, Ruberson said.

Wright has been active in the Entomological Society of America (ESA), including serving as program chair for the ESA and the North Central Branch (NCB) Program. He also contributed to the ESA as an At-Large Member, NCB Executive committee (twice), NCB local arrangements co-chair, and as a member of several ESA and NCB committees. He has frequently served as a judge for student competitions at NCB and ESA meetings and has co-organized and moderated several NCB symposia. Wright has contributed to several USDA (United States Department of Agriculture) programs including service on grant review panels for USDA-NIFA, Integrated Pest Management (IPM) Centers, Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), as well as leadership and membership on several USDA multistate committees and working groups.

During his career, Wright received several significant awards, including:

  • Outstanding Young Scientist Award, UNL Sigma Xi, 1990
  • University-wide Departmental Teaching Award, UNL Department of Entomology, 2015 
  • Distinguished Achievement Award in Extension, North Central Branch, Entomological Society of America, 2015
  • Distinguished Achievement Award in Extension, Entomological Society of America, 2016
  • Extension Award of Merit, Nebraska Chapter, Gamma Sigma Delta, 2017
  • International IPM Award of Excellence, as a member of North Central Soybean Entomology Research and Extension Team, International IPM Symposium, 2018
  • Excellence in Extension Team Award, member, Soybean Management Field Day Program, University of Nebraska Extension, 2019
  • C. V. Riley Award, North Central Branch, Entomological Society of America, 2020
  • Legacy Contribution Award, North Central Branch, Entomological Society of America, 2023