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Breakthroughs in Science

The Million Dollar Chair

August 13th, 2008

Having found a butterfly net stashed away in his family’s closet, Harold Rice began collecting butterflies in his early childhood and has been collecting ever since. In his 90’s today, he is still out and about the state looking for butterflies.

Harold’s love of traveling and passion for butterflies is amply illustrated by his personal collection, which contains well over 30,000 specimens from all over the world. Nearly half of this has already been delivered to the Oregon State Arthropod Collection, with the remainder expected in future years. The material is carefully identified and beautifully pinned into wooden glass-topped drawers.

The local entomology community is fortunate to count Harold among its leaders. He remains a member of the Oregon Entomological Society, having attended their first meeting in the 1930’s , and is an active participant in the Pacific Northwest Lepidoptersist group – a group that has been meeting each fall in the Willamette Valley for the last 30 years.

In 1994 Harold, with the help of OSAC director Jack Lattin, established the Harold and Leona Rice Professorship Endowment in Systematic Entomology. This Professorship is helping OSU recruit a top-notch leader in the field of Insect Systematics (the formal biological study of insect biodiversity and evolution). Part of the Rice Professor’s position is to serve as the Director for the Oregon State Arthropod Collection. A new Rice Professor will be announced during the 2008/2009 academic year.

In the picture here, Chris Marshall, Curator & Collections manager for the OSAC, has just presented Harold with an Oregon State University chair. Amused, Harold jokingly refers to the chair as his “million dollar chair.”

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