Stewart received $5,000 at the 2003 Beltwide Cotton Physiology Conference in Nashville. The Micro-Flo Co. of Memphis, Tenn., sponsors the award, which is presented by the Physiology Conference to an individual or team who has significantly improved the knowledge of the physiology of cotton growth and development.
Stewart, who holds the Ben J. Altheimer Chair for Cotton Research & Development at the university, is noted for his research on fiber initiation, his contributions in ovule and embryo culture and his publications on cotton biotechnology.
He co-edited The Cotton Foundation’s first reference book, Cotton Physiology, and wrote a major review of cotton biotechnology for the international audience. He’s recognized for the contributions his numerous plant explorations have made to cotton germplasm including seven new species, and his strategies for enhancement of exotic germplasm.
Nominator Thea Wilkins, University of California – Davis, said the breadth and depth of Stewart’s knowledge and expertise in cotton physiology is unparalleled “and he is the world’s leading authority in his field.”
“Dr. Stewart has without a doubt, contributed in some manner to every cotton research program in the U.S. and abroad,” Wilkins said. “His contributions to the cotton community over the years are immeasurable and have had a profound impact on germplasm development and utilization, genetic resources, and cotton ovule culture to name but a few.”
A Tennessee native, Stewart earned a Ph.D. in Botany at Oklahoma State University. He worked at USDA’s Agricultural Research Service where he developed a research program in cotton fiber biology. He joined the University of Arkansas Agronomy Department in 1986.
He is a Fellow of both the American Society of Agronomy and the Crop Science Society of America, and recipient of the Cotton Genetics Award.
Previous cotton physiology award recipients include: Derrick M. Oosterhuis, University of Arkansas; Tom Cothern and Chan Benedict, Texas A&M University; Dan Krieg, Texas Tech University; Gene Guinn, USDA Agricultural Research Service (ARS), Phoenix, Ariz.; and John Radin, USDA-ARS, Beltsville, Md.
The Cotton Physiology Conference convenes annually at the National Cotton Council-coordinated Beltwide Cotton Conferences. Next year’s conference will be in San Antonio, Texas.