Three LSU AgCenter scientists have been named to F. Avalon Daggett Professorships in Rice Research.

Chuck Rush, Don Groth and Eric Webster were recognized at a reception at the LSU AgCenter Rice Research Station.

A plant pathologist, Rush said his work during the past four decades has been rewarding. He has been honored with the Distinguished Rice Research and Education Award from the Rice Technical Working Group.

“The real highlight is these guys paid me for 39 years for doing something I liked to do,” Rush said.

Groth, also a plant pathologist, said the goal of his work is to help farmers. He has received grants totaling $7 million and published 225 articles.

“What I’m most excited about is the accomplishments we will be making in the next few years,” Groth said.

Webster, a weed scientist who works at the Rice Research Station’s south farm, said much of his success has been due to support from LSU AgCenter administration. He has published 300 articles and obtained grants totaling $2 million. “I have fun every day,” Webster said.

The professorships are funded from an endowment established by the late Florence Avalon Daggett.

Daggett was a documentary filmmaker from Jennings, La., who lived for a few years in Switzerland. Her work, honored by the Cannes Film Festival, took her to 127 countries.

After her death in 2002, she left a bequest to fund the professorships.

Lonnie Daggett, a family member, attended the reception and commended the three researchers. “She would have been proud of all the hard work you are doing,” Lonnie Daggett said of Florence Daggett.

Florence Daggett’s donation has been invaluable to reward high-achieving faculty members, said LSU AgCenter chancellor Bill Richardson. He said such gifts often are used to leverage grant funds.

David Boethel, LSU AgCenter vice chancellor for research, said the Rice Research Station is the best facility of its kind because of industry support from farmers who direct checkoff funds from their crops to research.

Joe Musick, retired director of the Rice Research Station, said he was a close friend of Florence Daggett. He said she also donated money for a scholarship fund for Native Americans in Arizona.

“I was very proud to know her and be associated with her,” Musick said.