Dr. French was among the original scientists at the establishment of CIP in 1971 alongside the late Dr. Richard Sawyer. In fact, Dr. French first came to Peru in 1965 as an advisor from the U.S. Department of Agriculture and North Carolina University Mission to Peru. In 1971 while conducting research on tropical bacterial diseases of potato he became the founding head of the Plant Pathology and Nematology Department, a position that he held until 1992. Later he became the leader of CIP’s Disease Management Program, Associate Director of Research and upon retirement in 1997 Scientist Emeritus.
“It is fitting that the CIP Plant Pathology Laboratory be dedicated in honor of Dr. French,” said CIP Director General, Barbara H. Wells. “The scientific foundation laid by Dr. French in the early 70s has facilitated the many advances that CIP has laid claim to over the years in this discipline and we are thankful for his extensive contributions to science in general and CIP specifically.”
Indeed the legacy of Dr. French is extensive. He has been honored with numerous titles and leadership roles throughout his career. He has been a visiting professor at the National Agrarian University of La Molina since 1967 and has served in leadership roles in several scientific societies among them are Asociacion Peruana de Fitopatologia and the American Phytopathological Society.
“Dr. French’s legacy goes beyond the laboratory,” remarked Oscar Ortiz, CIP Deputy Director General of Research and Development. “He has literally thousands of scientists and growers who he has either mentored directly or impacted indirectly through his prolific 50 year career.”
The Dr. Edward French Plant Pathology Laboratory was dedicated in the presence of Dr. French, his family, CIP scientists past and present, and many Peruvian friends and colleagues or Dr. French.