Willis Linn Jepson
Willis Linn Jepson (August 19, 1867 in Little Oak Ranch, near Vacaville, California – November 7, 1946 in Berkeley, California) is known as California's most distinguished early botanist. He became interested in botany as a boy and explored adjacent regions. He had come in contact with various botanists before he entered college. He graduated from the University of California in 1889, and the following year became an assistant in botany.
From 1895 to 1898 Jepson served as instructor, and carried on research at Berkeley, Cornell (1895) and Harvard (1896-97), and received his Ph.D. degree at University of California, Berkeley in 1899. He was made assistant professor in 1899, associate professor in 1911, professor in 1918, and professor emeritus in 1937. Thus, his entire career was identified with the University of California.
Willis Linn Jepson was 25 years old in 1892, when he, John Muir and Warren Olney, at an attorney's office in San Francisco, formed the Sierra Club. During his lifetime, Jepson wrote at least 11 books, two of which were on California's trees, including A Flora of California (1909), The Trees of California (1909) and A Manual of the Flowering Plants of California (1925). He was a Professor of Botany at the University of California for four decades. Many honors came to him during his long, productive lifetime. His specimens, extensive archives and fieldbooks are housed in the University and Jepson Herbaria libraries and archives. Most of his specimens from California have been databased and form a multi-institutional Consortium of California Herbaria database.
Honors and achievements
- His colleagues honored him with the Faculty Research Lectureship in 1934
- He was president of the California Botanical Society, 1913-15
- 1918-29 fellow of the California Academy of Sciences, American Academy of Arts and Sciences, Royal Society of Arts, and American Geographical Society
- Delegate to the International Agricultural Congress at Liége (1906), the International Botanical Congresses at Cambridge (1930) and Amsterdam (1935)
- Foreign member of the Société Linnéenne de Lyon and the National Botanical Society of Czechoslovakia
- Councilor of the Rancho Santa Ana Botanic Garden
- Life member of the American Genetic Association; and member of the American Society of Plant Taxonomists, Botanical Society of America, Society of Foresters, Washington Academy of Sciences, Western Society of Naturalists, Phi Beta Kappa, and Sigma Xi.
- The Saxifragaceae genus Jepsonia and host of commemorative specific plants are named after him.
- The Jepson Herbarium at the University of California, Berkeley is named for him.
- The Jepson Manual: Higher Plants of California is named in his honor.
- Willis Jepson Middle School is named after him in Vacaville,California.