HAYS, KS ?? Professor Eugene D. Fleharty was honored Saturday, March 4, with a reception at the Sternberg Museum. Fleharty was also honored with a 241-page tribute book, or festschrift, titled Reflections of a Naturalist: Papers Honoring Professor Eugene D. Fleharty.
"He is probably one of the top scientists to ever work for the university," said Dr. Jerry Choate, director of the Sternberg Museum, "He hadn't been thanked enough for his work."
The reception and festschrift were kept a secret for more than three years. When Fleharty arrived at the Sternberg he didn't know the reception was to honor him. The reception was attended by friends, colleagues and former students, some of whom he hadn't seen in more than 20 years.
The book has a preface by Choate, a brief biography of Fleharty written by Choate and Fleharty's wife, Jo Ann, and 11 papers honoring Fleharty written by former colleagues and graduate students. The papers include "The Bats of Wyoming" by Michael A. Bogan and Paul M. Cryan and "Systematics and Natural History of Marsupials from Argentina" by Michael A. Mares and Janet K. Braun.
Fleharty became an assistant professor in the Department of Biological Sciences at Fort Hays State University in 1962. He retired from the university in 1999. He was chair of the Department of Biological Sciences for 11 of his 37 years. "Gene had a major impact on the lives of his students, and some are now scientists at the top of their fields," said Choate.
The Flehartys contributed the funds for the Colombian mammoth in the lobby of the Sternberg Museum, and they and some family members contributed funds for the construction of the Fleharty Range in the museum. Publication of the festschrift was courtesy of the assistant provost and dean of the graduate school, Dr. James Forsythe, and production work for the festschrift was done by Cheryl Stramel.
The reception and dinner were provided by: provost of Fort Hays State University, Dr. Larry Gould; dean of the College of Health and Life Sciences, Dr. Tony Fernandez; chair of the Department of Biological Sciences, Dr. Robert Nicholson, and his wife Sandy; Sternberg Museum of Natural History; Ila and Gary Hulett; and Fi and Jerry Choate.