Acknowledging her world-renowned reputation in service to agriculture, Washington State University named plant pathologist Lindsey du Toit as the recipient of the Alfred Christianson Distinguished Professorship in Vegetable Seed Science.
The award provides extra funding that du Toit can apply to pivotal crop seed research projects as needed.
“We hope this endowment will continue to support graduate student studies and the resolution of complex crop production issues in the many years to come,” said Ken Christianson, Alfred’s son.
The endowment was previously awarded on an application basis at the Mount Vernon Northwestern Washington Research and Extension Center, and du Toit’s research has expanded as a result. However, this recent contribution from the Christianson family secures the position for du Toit.
She said she appreciates the support, both from WSU for being named to this position, but also seed grower families like the Christianson’s.
“It’s an indication that, if we do do good work, then not just the university but also stakeholders believe in you,” du Toit said. “That’s why we work hard to fulfill the land grant mission of WSU, to know that our research benefits the people we serve.”
In his letter acknowledging her accomplishments, Dean André Wright said “du Toit’s research helps growers reduce the impact of crippling pathogens that impede seed crop production.”
She runs an applied research program where she works with vegetable seed growers in western and central Washington, and with people from around the world where the same types of seed crops are grown, including Denmark, New Zealand, the Netherlands, and her native South Africa.
“Some of the projects we’ve tackled have taken years to solve,” du Toit said. “The patience shown by growers has paid off. We’ve had some great results in the 18 years I’ve been in this position at WSU.”
The endowment will allow du Toit flexibility, whether it’s for new lab equipment, funding for a new graduate student, or some other expense that will help solve a problem.