Dr. Leo W. Parks Lectureship in Microbial Physiology

The Department of Microbiology at North Carolina State University, along with the former students, associates and friends of Dr. Leo W. Parks, has created an endowment to honor Dr. Parks for his 16 years on the faculty at the University including eight years as Head of the Department of Microbiology and to express appreciation for his efforts and dedication as a teacher, researcher, and counselor.  The inaugural Parks Lecture was held November 11, 2005.  Dr. Carrie Harwood was our featured presenter.  Click here for photos from the event.

Leo W. Parks was born in Wetaug, Illinois, and raised in the Chicago area. He received his B.S. with honors from the University of Illinois, master’s degree from Indiana University, and Ph.D. from the University of Washington. Under the auspices of a National Research Council-National Academy of Sciences Fellowship, he was a post-doctoral resident research associate in biochemistry at the Argonne National Laboratory. This was interrupted for active duty service in the US Army.

After his military service, Dr. Parks joined the faculty at Oregon State University (OSU), Corvallis, Oregon, as an assistant professor and progressed through the ranks to professor. While at OSU Dr. Parks received college research and teaching awards, as well as the university’s Elizabeth P. Ritchie Distinguished Professor Award. In addition to serving on numerous committees he was elected president of the Oregon State University Faculty Senate, the statewide Inter-institutional Faculty Senate, and the OSU Federal Credit Union. He served terms on the board of the statewide faculty lobbying group, the Association of Oregon Faculties. Dr. Parks joined the faculty at North Carolina State University in 1985 as professor and head of the Department of Microbiology.

Funded by grants from the National Institutes of Health, the National Science Foundation, the US Army Research Office, the US Department of Agriculture, the Oregon Agricultural Experiment Station, the North Carolina Agricultural Research Service and various industrial concerns, his research specialties (yeast physiology and genetics, emphasizing lipid synthesis and regulation) have resulted in the publication of over 150 research articles. During his career, thirty-two graduate students earned their doctoral degrees with his supervision. Under the auspices of an NSF Senior Post-Doctoral Fellowship, Parks was a visiting professor at the Microbiological Institute of the University of Copenhagen, Denmark, and as a recipient of an NIH Special Fellowship, he was Professeur Conventionee at L’Institut de Chimie, Universite Louis Pasteur, Strasbourg, France.

He has served as a Contracts Management Officer with the Office of Naval Research, for which he was awarded a “Certificate of Commendation” by the Chief of Naval Research. He has had part-time duties with the Life Sciences Division of the Army Research Office. Multiple-term appointments have been held on the Editorial Boards of Journal of Bacteriology, Applied and Environmental Microbiology and CRC Critical Reviews in Microbiology.

The NC State microbiology graduating seniors presented him with a plaque at the May, 2001 graduation ceremony, recognizing his outstanding teaching and expressing their gratitude to him for his caring attitude.

Nancy and Leo W. Parks

On June 30, 2001, Professor Parks completed his long, distinguished career in academia as a teacher, researcher, mentor, faculty leader, valued colleague and friend to hundreds of students, postdocs and colleagues. He and his wife, Nancy, moved to Seattle to be closer to sons Michael and Bruce.

While he remains active in science, serving as a consultant to the Biology Division of the Army Research Office and the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency, he admits missing the contact with students.

“Students at state universities are truly representative of contemporary America,” Parks says. “They are young, bright, active, and challenging. What a treat to be able to work with such a great group of people throughout your entire career!”

The Leo W Parks Distinguished Lectureship in Microbial Physiology will honor Dr. Parks in perpetuity for his caring attitude and many contributions to the university community. This endowment will be used to underwrite costs associated with a lectureship in microbial physiology, biochemistry, genetics or related basic areas of microbiology. The endowment will help recruit outstanding lecturers, provide honoraria, travel and lodging for them, and publish programs, summaries and other printed and electronic materials from the lectures.

To make a tax deductible contribution toward this endowment, please complete the appropriate Gift Intention Form and mail it to the North Carolina Agricultural Foundation, NC State University Box 7645, Raleigh, NC, 27695.

OR, you may make a secure online contribution using American Express, Discover, MasterCard or Visa. Just click here.

If you have any questions or require additional information, please call Eric Miller at 919-515-7922 or Chris Wessel at 919-515-7678.