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Former Bio-Agricultural Library to be Named "Noel T. Keen Hall"

Former Bio-Agricultural Library to be Named "Noel T. Keen Hall"

(April 18, 2003)

The former Bio-Agricultural Library was named Noel T. Keen Hall on April 18, 2003.  (Photo credit: Lisa Dunlap.)

The former Bio-Agricultural Library was named Noel T. Keen Hall on April 18, 2003. (Photo credit: Lisa Dunlap.)

RIVERSIDE, Calif. -- The renovated Bio-Agricultural Library at UC Riverside will be named "Noel T. Keen Hall" today in memory of Noel T. Keen, Distinguished Professor of Plant Pathology and the holder of the Johnson Endowed Chair in Molecular Plant Pathology, who died in 2002. At present, the facility is called the Core Instrumentation Facility of the Genomics Institute and Center for Plant Cell Biology, and is located between Batchelor and Boyce Halls.

The formal dedication ceremony and grand opening of Noel T. Keen Hall at UCR will also mark exactly one year since Keen's death at the age of 61 after a two-year battle with leukemia. It houses advanced instrumentation for research involving genomics and related disciplines, areas of research that had direct relevance to Keen's own scientific investigations into the mechanisms plants use to recognize disease agents or pests.

Keen led both UC Riverside and his scientific profession into the modern era of molecular plant pathology. He combined great energy with extraordinary scientific acumen in providing leadership for his profession at the national and international levels.

"Noel was completely devoted to scientific excellence at UC Riverside," said Michael Clegg, director of the UCR Genomics Institute and a longtime friend of Keen. "He was a world class scientist who was devoted to scientific agriculture and to solving the vexing problems of disease that account for a loss of approximately 25 percent of all crop production."

Keen spent his entire academic career at UC Riverside. Despite many attractive offers from other institutions around the country, he chose to remain at UC Riverside to work to build it into a great scientific institution.

"He was a larger-than-life figure who was both humble and expansive," said Clegg. "He was loved by all of us at UCR who knew him. The idea of naming the building for Noel arose when I first learned of his fatal illness. The Genomics Facility is the embodiment of one of Noel's dreams and it was natural to honor his memory and his extraordinary leadership at UCR with this recognition."

The dedication ceremony is expected to draw about 200 people, including family members, former students, and colleagues of Keen, some coming from as far away as Japan.

Noel T. Keen earned his bachelor's degree in botany and his master's degree in plant pathology, both from Iowa State University, and his Ph.D. in plant pathology from the University of Wisconsin, Madison.

He received numerous professional honors during his career. He was elected a fellow of the American Association for the Advancement of Science in 1996 and of the American Society for Microbiology in 1997. Also in 1997, he was elected as a member of the National Academy of Sciences, one of the most prestigious honors accorded to a U.S. scientist or engineer.

In addition to his research and scholarly career, Keen was widely admired for his commitment to student learning. He served as an advisor to many graduate students and postdoctoral researchers.

Program on April 18, 2003:

3:30 p.m. Welcome -- Chancellor France Cordova

3:35 p.m. Welcome and history of UCR Genomics Institute; Dr. Keen's contribution to science -- Michael T. Clegg, Director, UCR Genomics Institute

3:50 p.m. Acknowledgments -- Donald A. Cooksey, UCR, Execute Associate Dean, College of Natural and Agricultural Sciences

4:00 p.m. Tribute to Noel T. Keen -- Family and friends

4:30 p.m. Official unveiling/naming of building

4:30-6:00 p.m. Reception and tours

Maps and directions to the campus are available at UC Riverside information kiosks, or on the campus Web site Campus parking costs $6 per day. Hourly permits are available: 30min, 1 hour, 2 hour, and all day. Monday through Friday daytime hourly rate for parking is $1.00/per 30 minutes.

The UCR Genomics Institute, established in 2000, brings together faculty from every academic unit on campus to participate in this era of rapid genomics-based discovery. The Institute provides researchers and students access to state-of-the-art tools for advanced studies in genomics, gene expression, proteomics, microscopy and bioinformatics. Research efforts are focused on insect genomics, plant cell biology/genomics, microbial genomics, mammalian genomics and bioinformatics.

The University of California, Riverside ( is a doctoral research university, a living laboratory for groundbreaking exploration of issues critical to Inland Southern California, the state and communities around the world. Reflecting California's diverse culture, UCR's enrollment has exceeded 21,000 students. The campus opened a medical school in 2013 and has reached the heart of the Coachella Valley by way of the UCR Palm Desert Center. The campus has an annual statewide economic impact of more than $1 billion.

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