University recognizes Ronald J. Kendall with alumni leadership award

Ronald Kendall (left) and Gerald Cross

Ronald J. Kendall (left) receives the alumni leadership award from its namesake, Gerald E. Cross.

BLACKSBURG, Va., July 9, 2010 – Virginia Tech’s Department of Fisheries and Wildlife Sciences in the College of Natural Resources and Environment presented Ronald J. Kendall, director of Texas Tech University’s Institute of Environmental and Human Health and a leader in the field of wildlife toxicology, with the Gerald E. Cross Alumni Leadership Award.

Professor Emeritus Gerald E. Cross, who served as the head of the Department of Fisheries and Wildlife Sciences from 1976 to 1989, significantly built up the department during his tenure, increasing the number of faculty members from six to 18. “Initially, the department was virtually unknown,” said Eric Hallerman, current department head. “Dr. Cross made it known.”

Among his many accomplishments, Cross created a continuing education program offered at different universities for U.S. Department of Agriculture Forest Service wildlife and fisheries biologists and botanists. Since 1987, over 500 people have attended the courses at Virginia Tech alone. The leadership that Cross has demonstrated inspired the creation of the award, whose recipients are recognized for their dedication and outstanding achievements in leading others.

Ronald J. Kendall of Lubbock, Texas, who earned his doctorate in fisheries and wildlife sciences from Virginia Tech in 1980, is the founder and director of the Institute of Environmental and Human Health at Texas Tech University, as well as the founding chairman and professor of the university’s Department of Environmental Toxicology. He served in similar roles at Clemson University, where he founded and directed the Institute of Wildlife and Environmental Toxicology, and founded and served on the faculty of the Department of Environmental Toxicology. He also established the Institute of Wildlife Toxicology at Western Washington University.

Kendall has played a leading role in the initiation of the field of wildlife toxicology and has left an indelible mark on the discipline through the students he has mentored and the work he has fostered by establishing and leading research institutes. “Clearly, Dr. Kendall has demonstrated leadership in all domains of university life, and merits recognition with the Gerald E. Cross Alumni Leadership Award,” remarked Hallerman.

Kendall has made more than 200 public and scientific presentations in the field of wildlife and environmental toxicology, and served as principal investigator on 138 grants totaling over $50 million. A prolific author, Kendall’s latest publication, Wildlife Toxicology: Emerging Contaminant and Biodiversity Issues, for which he served as chief editor, is projected to become a national and international bestseller.