College of Agricultural, Human, and Natural Resource Sciences

Plant Scientist Remembers Academic Rigor, Racial Acceptance, Friends at WSU

It’s a long way from Dog Bog, Miss., to the halls of a prestigious institution such as Howard University. Emeritus Professor of Biology Lafayette Frederick credits part of his success on that journey to his time earning a Ph.D. at Washington State University.

Following in the footsteps of renowned botanist and plant chemist, Dr. George Washington Carver, Frederick became intensely interested in plants at a young age. That interest turned into a lifelong career.

He earned his bachelor’s degree at Tuskegee Institute in Alabama in 1943, did graduate work at the University of Hawaii and earned his master’s of science degree in botany at the University of Rhode Island in 1950.

Lafayette FrederickIt was the winter of 1949 while earning his master’s degree at URI that Frederick attended a professional meeting in New York City and heard a paper on downy mildew by then-WSU Professor Gardener Shaw. “I immediately decided to apply to WSU to see if I might be able to work with him,” Frederick said.

He also applied to Michigan State University, “but my preference was WSU because of Dr. Shaw,” Frederick said. “I received a letter from MSU, but didn’t respond immediately, and it’s a good thing I didn’t. The next day I received a telegram from WSU asking me to come earn my Ph.D.” Even though, the invitation was to work with Dr. Seth Locke on crown gall, Frederick accepted and came to WSU.

In Pullman, he found a rigorous academic program, a surprisingly diverse cadre of fellow graduate students and a community of peers who in many cases became lifelong friends.

“I remember Dr. Brewer was one of my favorite professors. He presented the information very clearly, but gave very challenging exams. The test was a series of objective questions, and you could bring in any material you wanted, but even then it was very challenging,” Frederick said. “You had to evaluate which was the ‘best’ statement, the ‘next best’ and the wrong statement.”

But graduate school wasn’t all work. Frederick and his wife, Ann, have fond memories of the bi-weekly parties department chair George Fischer and his wife Geneva would hold for faculty and graduate students.

“Dr. Fischer and his wife lived out in the country,” Frederick remembered. “Every two weeks, he would invite all of the faculty members and graduate students in the department for inner and square dancing. I fostered an excellent relationship among the entire department.”

The Fischers also kept a large garden. “They always had a lot of produce,” Frederick said, “and they would invite graduate students and their families to pick carrots, beets, cabbage, tomatoes, everything. That helped us survive.”

That sense of community was color-blind, Frederick said, at a time when that wasn’t always the case.

“Quite frankly, I had wondered how well a minority graduate student might be received at WSU,” he said. “But the whole social and cultural scene here at WSU was very congenial, even in 1950. We were quite a diverse group, with students from China, Korea and various parts of the United States.”

After graduation, Frederick went on to become member of the biology department faculty at Southern University in Baton Rouge, chair of the Department of Biology at Atlanta University in Georgia, and then ultimately to chair the Department of Botany at Howard University in Washington, D.C., where he retired in 1993. He was a prolific scholar with dozens of refereed journal articles, many on the induction of Dutch Elm Disease, book chapters and the discovery of new species of fungi.

As for being a Coug, Frederick simply says, “I have always prized it very highly.”

CAHNRS is more than agriculture. With 24 majors, 19 minors, and 27 graduate level programs, we are one of the largest, most diverse colleges at WSU. CAHNRS Cougs are making a difference in the wellbeing of individuals, families, and communities, improving ecological and economic systems, and advancing agricultural sciences.



CAHNRS students are awarded more than $600,000 in scholarships annually.


CAHNRS leads in discovery through its high-quality research programs. In 2014, CAHNRS received research funding exceeding $81.5M. This accounts for nearly 40% of all research funding received by WSU.  


CAHNRS has 39 student clubs and organizations to enhance student experiences and opportunities.


With 24 majors, 19 minors, and 27 graduate level programs, CAHNRS is one of the largest, most diverse colleges at WSU.


Fall undergradsUndergraduate Studies

Check out every department and program CAHNRS has to offer, from Interior Design to Agriculture to Wildlife Ecology. We have 13 departments and schools to prepare you for your chosen career.

Grad student dogGraduate Studies

Students have a variety of options to pursue masters and doctoral degrees. Many of these have very specific background requirements, so we suggest exploring the individual programs for academic guidelines.

CTLLCenter for
Learning & Leadership

The CTLL is a student, faculty, alumni and industry partner collaboration for high quality learning and leadership beyond the classroom.


Inspiring Teamwork - Arron Carter pic

Inspiring Teamwork – Arron Carter

It started with a car, a ’69 Corvette Stingray to be exact.

When Arron Carter, the director of the Washington State University Winter Wheat Breeding Program, was in high school his agricultural teacher had a ’69 Corvette Stingray. Every year this teacher would let his favorite senior take the car to senior prom. Carter had never taken an agriculture class before, but he knew he wanted to drive that car.

“Well, if I’m going to be the favorite senior,” Carter said to himself, “I’d better start taking some ag classes.”…

Read More: Inspiring Teamwork – Arron Carter


CAHNRS Office of Research

Agricultural Research Center

Mission Statement

The goal of the Washington State University CAHNRS Office of Research is to promote research beneficial to the citizens of Washington. The Office of Research recognizes its unique land-grant research mission to the people of Washington and their increasing global connections. The CAHNRS Office of Research provides leadership in discovering and applying knowledge through high-quality research that contributes to a safe and abundant food, fiber, and energy supply while enhancing the sustainability of agricultural and natural resource systems.

Featured Research

sliced pear

Research for specialty crops boosted by $1.7 million

More than $1.7 million was awarded to Washington State University for specialty crop research including berries, potatoes, grapes, tree fruit, onions, carrots and Christmas trees.
Western bluebird with cricket. Photo by flickr user Kevin Cole.

Weighing the benefits, risks of wild birds on organic farms

Washington State University researchers will help organic growers protect human health by assessing the risks and benefits of wild birds on organic farms. Researchers received nearly $2 million from the USDA Organic Research and Extension Initiative to conduct the study.
Moyer Testimony 9.29.15

VIDEO: Jim Moyer testifies on specialty crop research before House Agriculture Committee

Jim Moyer, associate dean of research for CAHNRS and director of the Agricultural Research Center at WSU, presented specialty crop research innovations in Washington, D.C. this fall.
Winter Wheat May 2014 by McFarland

‘A quiet crisis’: The rise of acidic soil in Washington

Gary Wegner first noticed the problem in 1991, when a field on his family’s farm west of Spokane produced one-fourth the usual amount of wheat. Lab tests revealed a surprising result: the soil had become acidic.

Study: Small railroads important but costly to upgrade

More than half of Washington’s short-line rail miles aren’t up to modern standards, according to a recent study by the Washington State Department of Transportation and the Washington State University Freight Policy Transportation Institute.
A grizzly bear with her cubs at the WSU bear center.

Single hair shows researchers what a bear has been eating

By looking at a single hair, U.S. and Canadian researchers can get a good idea of a grizzly bear’s diet over several months.


With 39 locations throughout the state, WSU Extension is the front door to the University. Extension builds the capacity of individual, organization, businesses and communities, empowering them to find solutions for local issues and to improve their quality of life. Extension collaborates with communities to create a culture of life-long learning and is recognized for its accessible, learner-centered, relevant, high-quality, unbiased educational programs.

MudflatImpact: Burrowing Shrimp and Invasive Eelgrass

Shellfish production in Washington is a $60 million a year industry. Several major pests plague this industry, resulting in major crop loss. One of the most important pests is subterranean burrowing shrimp. These shrimp bioturbate (stir up) the sediment, causing the oysters to sink and die. For the past 60 years the industry has been using the insecticide Sevin to control this pest, but due to lawsuits its use was phased out in 2012. Without alternative control for shrimp, tens of millions of dollars in annual crop revenue will be lost and the industry will quickly lose its economic viability in southwestern Washington.

PoultryFarmImpact: The National Livestock and Poultry Environmental Learning Center

The Environmental Protection Agency has identified agriculture as the leading contributor of pollutants to the nation’s rivers, streams, lakes, and reservoirs. These reports often do not separate animal agriculture from other agricultural enterprises, but they do note that pathogens, nutrients, and oxygen-depleting substances associated with manure are three of the top five pollutants. Some emerging issues related to manure management include: endocrine disruptors (hormones), pharmaceuticals (antimicrobials), and antibiotic resistance in bacteria. Adopting farm practices that minimize the environmental impact is important for food safety.

BiosolidsImpact: Biosolids and Compost

Biosolids are the solids produced during municipal wastewater treatment. Composts are made from a variety of organic materials, including both urban and agriculture sources such as yard trimmings, biosolids, storm debris, food waste or manure, and food processing residues. While these materials have traditionally been viewed as waste, they can play a valuable role as soil amendments in urban and agricultural settings. They provide nutrients and organic matter and they sequester carbon, thereby conserving resources, restoring soils, and combating climate change.

Click to see the many ways
that WSU Extension benefits
your community and the state.

Alumni & Friends

What are you thankful for?

This holiday season, we know who we are thankful for—YOU!
Our family, friends, supporters, and alumni are so important to CAHNRS.
We have created a video that helps explain why.

You were an integral part in helping us complete the successful
Campaign for Washington State University: Because the World Needs Big Ideas.
Over 9,700 donors contributed more than $250 million to CAHNRS,
a quarter of the WSU Campaign goal of $1 billion.
Without you, we wouldn’t be where we are today. And for that, we thank you.

Your friends in the College of Agricultural, Human, and Natural Resource Sciences

Contact Us

CAHNRS Alumni & Development
PO Box 646228
Pullman, WA 99164-6228
PH: 509-335-2243

Faculty & Staff

Important Dates and Deadlines

August 24, 2015

  • Tenure and Promotion Documents need to be submitted to the Dean’s Office

September 10, 2015

  • Fall Festival


A-Z Index of Faculty and Staff Resources:

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  • Click individual items to view or download

Contact Dean’s Office:
Hulbert 421
PO Box 646242
Pullman WA 99164-6242

Lisa Johnson:
Assistant to the Dean
Hulbert 421C
PO Box 646242
Pullman WA 99164-6242