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Ganga Nair

Ganga Nair
Ganga Nair Professor, Natural and Applied Sciences 5/24/09

Professor V.M. Ganga Nair, 80, Green Bay, a world-renowned expert on forest preservation and professor at UW-Green Bay for over 40 years, died unexpectedly on March 10, 2010. Born on January 26, 1930 in Kozhikode, Kerala State, India, he is the son of the late K. and Yamuna Nedungadi, and grandson of Appu Nedungadi. On June 26, 1971 he married the former Elizabeth Hechenberger in Kaduna, Nigeria. Professor Nair received his undergraduate degree from Christian College in Madras, India. While attending the university, Professor Nair became a pilot. He was selected to the Indian Air Force before changing his focus to a career in education.

Professor Nair later went on to receive a Masters Degree in Natural Sciences from Aligarh University. He served as a fellow at the (I.A.R.I.) Indian Agricultural Research Institute in New Delhi. In 1964, he received a Masters Degree and PhD. from the University of Wisconsin- Madison in Plant Pathology and Mycology.

In 1968 Professor Nair was one of the founding faculty members at the University of Wisconsin-Green Bay, where he taught Plant-Forest Pathology, Mycology, and Conservation of Natural Resources on a global level. Professor Nair published scores of research papers and book chapters on chemotherapeutic control of tree diseases, Mycoplasma of tree diseases, and national and international journals. He was the first recipient of the University of Wisconsin- Green Bay Founders Association Award for Excellence in Scholarship in 1976. Professor Nair has achieved an international reputation for his research in Mycoplasma diseases in trees, chemotherapeutic and biological plant diseases, breeding and cloning of disease resistant trees species, reforestation, preservation, and propagation of forest medicinal plants. He cared about UW-Green Bay, Natural Applied Sciences, the Biology programs, and for his students. Professor Nair always believed that his students were his wealth, and felt that his students should do better than he did.

He served as a senior advisor to the United Nations Development Program on the preservation of tropical forests around the world. Professor Nair also served on the International Plant Protection Congress, and the Indian Planning Commission. He was selected by India as a Fellow of the National Academy of Sciences of India. China also presented him with the “Scroll of Distinction” for scientic achievements. Professor Nair received the Herbert Fisk Johnson Professorship in Environmental Studies in 2003.

His expertise was not limited to international areas. Professor Nair also directed the chemotherapeutic control and management of oak wilt in Green Bay, served on the committee to control Dutch elm disease in Wisconsin, and helped farmers solve problems associated with soil-borne fungal pathogens.

He is survived by his loving wife of 39 years – Elizabeth; one sister: Shantha Krishnan, one brother-in-law: Krishnan; niece: Ani (Anoop) Kishen; grand nephew: Appu Kishen, all of Kerala State, India; mother-in-law: Anna Hechenberger, Munich, Germany; extended family: Manfred Eisenmann and Evelyn and Dieter Schlesinger and family.

He was preceded in death by his parents.

Professor Nair was honored for a distinguished teaching career of bringing the World to UW-Green Bay – and bringing UW-Green Bay to the world!

“To destroy or burn a tropical forest is like burning a Renaissance painting,” he once told the Green Bay Press-Gazette.

A scholarship fund has been established at the University of Wisconsin-Green Bay. In
lieu of other expressions of sympathy, contributions can be made to the “Ganga and Elizabeth Nair Endowed Scholarship” and mailed to: UW-Green Bay, Advancement Office, 2420 Nicolet Drive, Green Bay, WI 54311

A Celebration of Life

Created by Elizabeth Nair