WEST LAFAYETTE, Ind. — Purdue University announced that Dr. Barry Pittendrigh, currently a Michigan State University Foundation Professor, has agreed to accept the position as the Osmun Endowed Chair in Urban Entomology at Purdue University.

In the early 2000s, members of the pest control industry formed the Purdue University Endowed Chair Committee to raise funds for the creation of the John V. Osmun Endowed Chair. In addition to the Osmun endowed chair, the university also is home to the O. Wayne Rollins/Orkin Chair in Urban Entomology. A named endowed professorship is one of the highest honors a university can bestow on a member — or past member — of its faculty. It is an academic position permanently supported with the revenue from an endowment fund specifically set up for that purpose.

In a communication to the entomology community, Stephen Cameron, head of Purdue’s Entomology Department, wrote:

I am delighted to announce that Dr. Barry Pittendrigh has agreed to accept the position as the Osmun Endowed Chair in Urban Entomology.  The Osmun Endowment honors Dr. John Osmun, former Department Head in Entomology, a specialist in Urban Entomology & Pest Management who was responsible for building the reputation and scope of many of the signature Urban programs within our Department including the Pest Management Conference and the Correspondence Courses for Pest Management Professionals.  It was funded by a long running campaign of our Alumni and Industry Partners, finally vesting due to a untargeted bequest in 2016.  


Dr. Pittendrigh, currently an MSU Foundation Professor at Michigan State University, is a specialist in insect genetics and genomics with a magnificent research track record focusing on the genetics of pesticide resistance, with over 180 publications, and has received over $30 million in career competitive funding.  He is both a graduate of our department (MS 1994) and a former faculty member (Assistant Professor 200-2004, Associate Professor 2004-2008) and was honored with the John V Osmun Award for Professional Achievement in 2016, our department’s highest alumni award.  He leads an innovative program in outreach and public education (SAWBo) focused on multi-lingual tools, and a strong track record as an educator and a student mentor.  Most recently, he has developed significant experience directing large collaborative projects and most recently leading the USAID Feed the Future, Legume Innovation Lab.  Dr. Pittendrigh has, an expansive and compelling vision for taking the Center for Urban & Industrial Pest Management (CUIPM) into the future, and continuing our leadership in Urban research, education and public engagement.  


I would like to thank everyone who contributed to the search for the Osmun Endowed Chair, particularly the tireless work of the search committee, Mr. Matt Dittman, Dr. Ashley Leach, Dr. Laramy Enders, Dr. Ameya Gondhalekar, Dr. Linda Mason and Dr. Doug Richmond (chair).  Additionally, I would like to thank Judy Dold, Dave Mueller and Joe Long, who as representatives of the Osmun Donors group, and leaders in the Pest Management Industry played crucial roles both in raising funds to make the endowment a reality and in conducting the interviews for this position.  Finally, I would like to thank, Dean Plaut, and Dr. Russell, Department Head in Agricultural Science Education & Communication, for their work towards a partner faculty hire for Dr. Pittendrigh’s wife Dr. Bello-Bravo, an impressive social scientist in her own right.


Please join me in welcoming Dr. Pittendrigh back to Purdue, and in thanking everyone who contributed towards this great outcome.