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Dennis Knight -- 2008 Outstanding Former Faculty
Department of Botany
Professor Emeritus Dennis H. Knight is a nationally and internationally renowned ecologist. After completing a Ph.D. in botany at the University of Wisconsin in 1964, Knight joined the Peace Corps and taught at the University of Loja, Ecuador, for two years. He joined the University of Wyoming faculty in 1966, where he remained until retiring in 2001. Knight’s areas of specialization are plant ecology, ecosystem analysis, and the application of ecological concepts to land management. Most of his research has been on forests.
A prolific author, Knight has published more than 65 scientific articles, many in prestigious journals. His book, Mountains and Plains: The Ecology of Wyoming Landscapes, is a synthesis of the scientific literature pertaining to the renewable natural resources of Wyoming and the Rocky Mountain Region. It serves as an important reference for scientists, naturalists, and land managers.
Knight’s leadership abilities translated to service on many levels. He was department head for 10 years, and during his tenure, the Department of Botany successfully raised funds for and completed construction of the Louis O. and Terua P. Williams Conservatory. In addition, Knight has been a liaison with state offices, federal agencies, and private organizations such as The Nature Conservancy.
A well-respected teacher, Knight offered undergraduate courses in general biology, forest management, ecology, ecosystem ecology, and vegetation ecology. For many students, the vegetation ecology class was an experience they did not want to miss. In addition to his excellent contributions to undergraduate education, Knight mentored and directed 30 graduate students.
An esteemed scholar and educator, Knight has received various awards including Harvard University’s Bullard Fellowship (1995-1996), the UW George Duke Humphrey Distinguished Faculty Award (1996), and the College of Arts and Sciences Exemplary Faculty Award (2000). Knight and his wife Judy live in Laramie.