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A History of Plant Pathology in Virginia: The Foy Era (1974-1980)

Chester L. Foy was appointed Department Head for the Department of Plant Pathology and Physiology on July 1, 1974. He served in this capacity until August 30, 1980. There were sharp differences between Foy and his predecessor, Houston B. Couch, in their personalities and manners of administering departmental affairs. Couch was domineering, self-assured, and obsessed with real or conjured mandates to better the Department and display it prominently in University, professional, and commodity circles. He had mandated course and curriculum revisions, project consolidations around fundamental concepts rather than commodity needs, and committees to expedite the Department into his perceived mold. He had created secretarial and technician pools and named a head secretary and supervisory technician. He had created a central library for all publicly owned books; he had conceived the Physiopath, alumni magazine, and the Resume, an annual summary of faculty activities and publications; and he had implemented a refurbishing of classrooms, laboratories, hallways and even lavatories in Price Hall. Couch had been a motivator, activator, doer whose frequent new ideas kept the faculty agitated, but involved. He had hired several new pathologists and weed scientists and in doing so had installed new disciplines or expanded old ones in the Department.

Into this arena stepped Foy, who by comparison to Couch was unobtrusive, seemingly apologetic, and imperturbable but by any measure, very competent. Foy was born in Dukedom, Tennessee, July 8, 1928. He earned a B.S. degree in 1952, from the University of Tennessee, majoring in Agronomy and Soils: an M.S. from the University of Missouri in 1953, majoring in Chemical Weed Control of Field Crops; and the Ph. D from the University of California, Davis in 1958, majoring in Plant Physiology. At the time of his appointment at V.P.I. and S.U. in 1966, he was Associate Professor of Botany at Davis. He was appointed Associate Professor and in 1968, he was promoted to Professor. When he was appointed Head of the Department of Plant Pathology and Physiology, he was the first non-pathologist to assume that position.

At the beginning of the Foy Era, the Departmental faculty was comprised of eight professors, eleven associate professors, and three assistant professors. The faculty and their assignments in 1974 are enumerated below.


Samuel W. Bingham, Plant Physiologist, weed control on highways, golf courses, and turf.
William E. Chappell, Plant Physiologist, weed and brush control, rights-of-way.
Houston B. Couch, Plant Pathologist, turf pathology.
Lawrence I. Miller, Plant Pathologist, peanut diseases, plant nematology.
Wyatt W. Osborne, Plant Pathologist, Extension tobacco diseases, field crop nematology.
Curtis W. Roane, Plant Pathologist, diseases of cereals, soybean, genetics of host-parasite interactions.
Wirt H. Wills, Plant Pathologist, fungal pathogens, ornamental plant diseases.

Associate Professors:

James S. Coartney, Plant Physiologist, Extension weed control in nurseries.
Charles R. Drake, Plant Pathologist, fruit crop diseases, coordinator of the plant protection program.
Gary J. Griffin, Plant Pathologist, soil microbiology, chestnut blight.
Maynard G. Hale, Plant Physiologist, instruction, gnotobiology, plant stress.
Kenneth D. Hickey, Plant Pathologist, fruit crop disease, Winchester Fruit Laboratory.
Allen H. Kates, Plant Physiologist, Extension weed control in field crops.
Robert C. Lambe, Plant Pathologist, Extension, ornamental plants, nursery crops.
Laurence, D. Moore, Plant Pathologist, physiology of diseases, tobacco, turf.
Robert Pristou, Plant Pathologist, Extension, clinical plant pathology, disease of field crops.
Roland J. Stipes, Plant Pathologist, diseases of landscape trees.
Sue A. Tolin, Plant Pathologist, virology, diseases of legumes, tobacco, corn.

Assistant Professors:

Joseph A. Fox, Plant Pathologist, nematology.
David M. Orcutt, Plant Physiologist, instruction, plant stress.
Orvin E. Rud, Plant Physiologist, weed control research and extension, Suffolk.

Research Associate:

Lance W. Kress, Plant Pathologist, air pollution, forest pathology.

In addition, there were two adjunct appointees and a pathologist of Painter

Kenneth H. Garren, Adjunct, Plant Pathologist, USDA-SEA/AR, Suffolk, peanut diseases.
David M. Porter, Adjunct, Plant Pathologist, USDA-SEA/AR, Suffolk, peanut diseases.
Robert E. Baldwin, was Plant Pathologist at the Va. Truck and Ornam. Res. and Ed. Ctr., Painter, vegetable pathology.

During the Foy Era there were promotions to Professor : Drake on July 1, 1976; Griffin on July 1, 1977; and Skelly July 1,1978. There were also several appointments and resignations:

New appointments:

John J. Reilly, 1975, Assistant Plant Pathologist, tobacco, Blackstone
J. A. Swader, 1975, Associate Plant Physiologist, weed control.
Samuel A. Alexander, 1976, Assistant Plant Pathologist, forest tree diseases.
Keith W. Yoder, 1976, Assistant Plant Pathologist, fruit disease, Winchester.
Ronald W. Tillman, 1977, Assistant Plant Pathologist, instruction, coordinator of IPM, plant protection programs.
James R. Martin, 1978, Assistant Plant Physiologist, Extension, IPM field programs at Warsaw.
Patrick M. Phipps, 1978, Assistant Plant Pathologist, Extension, and researcher, peanut diseases, Suffolk.
Dean A. Komm, 1979, Assistant Plant Pathologist, Extension, tobacco disease.
Kriton K. Hazios, 1979, Assistant Plant Physiologist, herbicidal action.
M. L. Link, 1976, Research Associate, vegetation management along rights-of-way.


Kenneth D. Hickey, 1976, for a position with Pennsylvania State University, Biglerville.
Wyatt W. Osborne, 1977, physical disability.
Joseph A. Fox, 1980, for a position in the Mississippi Extension Division.
J. S. Swader, 1980, for a position in California.

Person named Adjunct Professor:

Martha K. Roane, 1975, to work with Stipes and Griffin.
L. S. Dochinger, 1977, to work with Skelly.
John R. Elkins, 1978, to work with Stipes and Griffin on chestnut blight.

In the remaining text, only the work of plant pathologists will be discussed, unless, of course, others operated in some phase of the work. In the Foy Era, it was becoming more difficult to recognize major contributions or "break-throughs" as the pressure to publish or perish was manifested. Scientists began intensifying publication of minor contributions, publishing the same findings under different titles in two or more journals, and in essence publishing progress reports. This need to have many titles published yearly created a difficult problem for historians who have to assess the magnitude of one's contributions. It also created a major problem for libraries as this padding filled the shelves with volumes containing little substance. The days of waiting until a research project was completed or ripened before a publication was issued had passed. Journal publications dominated while Experiment Station bulletins virtually disappeared. Therefore, as a historian, I found it essential to report on commodities such as tobacco, cereals, fruit, etc. and disciplines such as virology, nematology, genetics, etc., rather than an annual output. I also became aware that progress slowed; history became more voluminous and assessment more uncertain.


The plant pathology courses offered in the Department remained relatively stable during the Foy Era. There were some additions; the following list is taken from the 1980 University Catalog. All courses are designated PLPP:

2960 - Field Study - hr. and cr. arr.
3010 - Plant Pathology - 3 (3), II or V.
3020 - Plant Pathology Laboratory - 3 (1), II or V.
3030 - Forest Pathology - 3 (1), II.
4010 - Air Pollution Damage to Plants - 3 (3), I.
4040 - Diseases of Crop Plants - 7 (3), II.
4050 - Phytopathogens - 4 (4), I.
4060 - Principles of Pesticide Application - 5 (3), III.
4960 - Field Study - hr. and cr. arr.
4970 - Independent Study - hr. and cr. arr.
4980 - Special Study - hr. and cr. arr.
4990 - Undergraduate Research and Thesis - hr. and cr. arr.
5020 - Principles of Plant Disease Control - 3 (3), III.
5030 - Plant Parasitic Nematodes - 7 (3), II, alt. even yrs.
5040 - Plant Virology - 6 (4), I, alt. odd yrs.
5090 - Genetics of Host-Parasite Interactions - 3 (3), II, alt even yrs.
5111 - Seminar - 1 (1), III.
5120 - Concepts and Practices of Pesticide Application - 5 (3), III.
5130 - Plant Pathogenic Agents - 4 (4), I.
5150 - Diseases of Field Crops - 6 (4), I.
5170 - Epidemiology of Plant Disease - 6 (4), III.
5180 - Disease of Landscape Trees, Ornamentals and Turfgrasses - 4 (3), III; alt. even yrs.
5190 - Phytopathogenic Fungi - 6 (4), III.
5221 - Clinical Plant Pathology I - 6 (2), II.
5222 - Clinical Plant Pathology II - 6 (2), III.
5311 - Pest Management Systems I - 5 (3), II.
5312 - Pest Management Systems II - 9 (3), III.
5900 - Project and Report 1-3 (1-3) arr.
5970 - Independent Study - hr. and cr. arr.
5980 - Special Study - hr. and cr. arr.
5990 - Research and Thesis - hr. and cr. arr.
6020 - Principles of Plant Disease Development - 3 (3), I; alt. odd yrs.
6040 - Physiology of Pathogenesis - 6 (4), III; alt. even yrs.
7990 - Research and Dissertation - hr. and cr. arr.

Added to the courses above were those in plant physiology and weed science to make an impressive showing for the Department in the University catalog.

Two new graduate courses were added in the Foy Era, PLPP 5180 and 5190. The first, 5180, Diseases of Landscape Trees, Ornamentals and Turfgrasses had an impressive instructional staff, Stipes, Wills and Couch, (listed according to subject matter). It also had the longest course title. The second, Phytopathogenic Fungi, was probably offered to relieve students from having to take a three quarter sequence in mycology, a burden that seemed unnecessary to many who may have been basically interested in bacteria, viruses, or nematodes.

Having the two courses, 4050 Phytopathogens and 5130 Plant Pathogenic Agents, may have been a smokescreen. The instructors, Griffin, Fox, and Tolin, offered the two courses during the same hours; thus, graduate and undergraduates were blended into the same course but received credit for having had different courses. This was a device to defeat the University and Graduate School philosophy that undergraduates had not achieved the learning ability of graduate students. Balony!

A new option, Integrated Pest Management (IPM), was to be offered to undergraduates in 1980 in cooperation with the Entomology, Horticulture, and Agronomy Departments. R. W. Tillman was hired to coordinate it. He was given a 100% assignment in instruction. Such an assignment was rare in those times in the College of Agriculture. Despite all this anticipation and preparation, Tillman resigned on June 1, 1980 just before IPM was to come into fruition.

A peak number of students, between 25 and 28, majoring in plant pathology was reached about 1979. Afterward there was a national and local decline in students. The well established, prestigious departments were able to maintain their numbers primarily because they could make better financial offers to graduate student assistants. V.P.I & S.U. lost ground because it could not compete financially and because its faculty were oriented more to commodity rather than fundamental research. The field of molecular biology was making inroads into plant pathology, except at V.P.I. & S.U. A whole new cadre of faculty would have to be hired in the Department before that would be possible at V.P.I. & S.U.

Degrees Granted in Plant Pathology, Foy Era 1975-80
Year Degree Recipient (Advisor) Thesis or Dissertation Title
1975 Ph. D. B. G. Joyner (Couch) Influence of Trichoderma harzianum Rifai on growth, chemical composition and root exudation of axenic tobacco.
1975 Ph. D. G. B. Montgomery (Wills) Etiology of root rot and decline of English boxwood (Buxus sempervirens cv. suffruticosa L.)
1975 M. S. H. I . Brown, Jr. (Drake) Effect of benomyl, topsin M, and botran against Monilinia fructicola and Rhizopus nigricans on peach and nectarine fruits and in vitro.
1975 M. S. S. O. Phillips (Skelly) Growth loss of loblolly pine (Pinus taeda L.), white pine (Platanus occidentalis L.) proximal to a periodic source of air pollution.
1975 M. S. N. Jane K. Headland (Griffin) Severity of natural Endothia parasitica infection of Chinese chestnut, Castanea mollissima.
1975 M. S. N. B. M. Kard (Drake) Prevention of bitter rot of apples in storage.
1975 M. S. N. D. A. Roth (Pristou) Differential resistance of plant introduction lines of Phaseolus vulgaris L. to Xanthomonas phaseoli (E. F. Smith) Dowson.
1975 M. S. N. F. D. Singleton (Roane) Control of Helminthosporium stripe of barley with selected seed treatment fungicides.
1975 M. S. N. H. R. Smith (Drake) Peach tree decline.
1975 M. S. N. Cynthia A. Spoor (Stipes) Control of Fusarium wilt of tomato with cycocel and/or lignasan BLP.
1976 Ph. D. T. Pass, III (Griffin) Studies on the physiology of conidial germination by Aspergillus flavus.
1976 M. S. Rosemary H. Ford (Tolin) Comparison of five naturally occurring strains of tobacco mosaic virus.
1976 M. S. M. J. King (Moore) Soybean growth, phosphorus content and foliar symptom expression as influenced by ozone fumigation and phosphorus nutrition.
1976 M. S. Jenny L.-W. Leong (Tolin) The interaction of peanut mottle virus and soybean mosaic virus on soybean (Glycine max (L.) Merrill.
1976 M. S. N. R. C. Bird (Couch) Effects of chemical adjuvants on turfgrass and turfgrass soils.
1976 M. S. N. G. L. Clement (Stipes) The effects of MBC, its salts, and benomyl on the growth and development of selected plant species.
1976 M. S. N. E. M. Hayes (Skelly) The effects of an oxidant air pollution regime in southwestern Virginia on eastern white pine (Pinus strobus L.).
1976 M. S. N. S. J. Justis (Wills) Diseases of flowering dogwood (Cornus florida L.) and an investigation into the roles of three species of Phytophthora in root rot of dogwood.
1976 M. S. N. W. R. Okie, III (Stipes) Control of Fusarium wilt of tomato with systemic fungitoxicants.
1976 M. S. N. W. W. Osborne, Jr. (Drake) Postulated methods of infection by Whetzelinia sclerotiorum in peanuts as inferred from evidence from other crops.
1977 Ph. D. P. P. Hunter (Stipes) The blight and canker of pinoak (Quercus palustris Muench.) incited by Endothia gyrosa (Schw.) Fr. : Some factors in disease development.
1977 Ph. D. D. B. Janutolo (Stipes) Fungitoxicants in the Ceratocystis ulmi-Ulmus americana - soil continuum.
1977 M. S. B. M. Bradford (Skelly) The incidence and severity of Heterobasidion annosum (Fr.) Bref. in loblolly pine and the effect on radial growth.
1977 M. S. Shi-Jean S. Sung (Moore) Effects of herbicide treatment and ozone fumigation on flue-cured tobacco plants.
1977 M. S. N. T. R. Bardinelli (Alexander) Comparison of electrical resistances in loblolly pines naturally and artificially infected with Heterobasidion annosus (Fr): Bref. and healthy loblolly pines to a pulsed, electric current.
1977 M. S. N. G. N. Dawson (Stipes) Uptake, translocation, and persistence of fungitoxicants and other pesticides in trees including pin oak (Quercus palustris Muench.)
1977 M. S. N. Debra D. Jones (Drake) Black root rot of strawberries
1978 Ph. D. L. W. Kress (Skelly) Growth impact of O2, SO2, NO2 singly and in combination on loblolly pine (Pinus taeda L.) and American sycamore (Platanus occidentalis L.).
1978 Ph. D. W. E. Kuriger (Roane) The effect of Pseudomonas coronafaciens (Elliott) Stevenson winter survival of oats and the role of bacteria and barley yellow dwarf virus in red leaf of oats.
1978 Ph. D. D. A. Roth (Griffin) Survival and chemical control of Cylindrocladuim spp. inciting root rot of black walnut seedlings.
1978 Ph. D. L. E. Trevathan (Moore-Tolin) Symptom expression and lipid composition of flue-cured tobacco in response to ozone and purified tobacco mosaic virus.
1978 M. S. J. C. Adams, III (Moore) Growth and pathogenicity of six isolates of Corynespora cassiicola (Berk. and Curt.) Wei.
1978 M. S. N. M. D. Hutter (Fox) Integrated control of clubroot of cabbage incited by Plasmodiophora brassicae.
1978 M. S. N. C. Jones (Griffin) Resistance of Chinese chestnut, Castanea mollissima Blume, to Endothia parasitica (Murr.) And. and And. in different cold-hardiness zones in the eastern United States.
1978 M. S. N. Jane E. Polston (Tolin) Preparation of six Extension publications on virus diseases in Virginia.
1978 M. S. N. Nancy D. Prichard (Drake) A review and study of Prunus stem pitting.
1978 M. S. N. Patricia A. Truax (Stipes) Comparative distribution of Arbotect 20-5, CG64251, Lignisan BLP, and Naurinol in Ulmus americana following administration with a Sterrett-Creager miniature pressure injector.
1979 M. S. J. B. Dalley (Drake) Golden Delicious leaf blotch, a physiological disorder.
1979 M. S. T. K. Kroll (Moore) The effects of TIBA on soybean susceptibility to Macrophomina phaseoli (Tassi) Goid. and Phomopsis sp. Sacc.
1979 M. S. Raylene L. LeRoy (Tillman) A qualitative and quantitative model of apple powdery mildew development.
1979 M. S. N. Barbara J. Ballard (Couch) The effects of various root exudates on broom rape germination.
1979 M. S. N. C. W. Conner (Stipes) Movement and disappearance of captan and difolatan in Woodstown loamy sand soil.
1980 Ph. D. D. N. Appel (Stipes) The influence of selected urban site factors, host nutrition and water stress on the decline and blight of pin oak (Quercus palustris Muench.) Fr. incited by Endothia gyrosa (Schw.) Fr.
1980 Ph. D. B. M. Bradford (Moore) The role of phytosterols in the pathogenesis of Phytophthora infestans on tomato.
1980 Ph. D. J. B. Jones (Roane) The interaction of Xanthomonas transluscens and Septoria nodorum on Triticum aestivum.
1980 Ph. D. D. T. Krigsvold (Griffin) The ecology of Cylindrocladium crotalariae (Loos) Bell and Sobers microsclerotia in field soils.
1980 Ph. D. R. S. Webb (Alexander-Skelly) The incidence and severity of Heterobasidion lobolly pine (Pinus taeda L.) unthinned annosum (Fr.) Bref. in plantations and seed orchards.
1980 M. S. Leslie A. Bower (Wills) Biotic and abiotic stress factors influencing infection and colonization of Buxus sempervirens var. suffruticosa L. by Paecilomyces buxi (Link ex Fr.) Bezerra.
1980 M. S. A. S. Carpenter (Drake) An ecological study of Xiphinema americanum Cobb, 1913, in a Virginia peach orchard.
1980 M. S. P. J. Graham (Griffin) Relationship between peanut canopy, temperature and Cylindrocladium black rot development and effects of soil temperature and water potential on the germinability of Cylindrocladium crotalariae microscterotia.
1980 M. S. Judy L. Trimble (Skelly) Epicuticular wax and stomata characterization of two Pinus strobus L. clones differing in sensitivity to ozone.
1980 M. S. Marsha M. Ward (Skelly) Variation in the response of loblolly pine to ozone.
1980 M. S. N. Sheau-Ching Chang (Orcutt) Some pathological and biochemical observations on streptomycin treated 'Columia' oats infected with Pseudomonas coronafaciens.
1980 M. S. N. C. E. Grant (Roane-Phipps) Etiology and control of a damping-off disease of soybeans in Virginia.
1980 M. S. N. Deborah J. Martindale (Drake) Cost benefit of using sticky red spheres for monitoring the apple maggot, Rhagolatis pomonella.
1980 M. S. N. W. R. Terry (Drake) Rhizoctonia solani as a pathogen of cabbage and possible management procedures for its control.
1980 M. S. N. Dayle H. Zanzigger (Tolin) The role of weed hosts and nematode vector in the ecology of neporviruses in Eastern North America.
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