College of Arts and Sciences Department of Biology

William H. N. Gutzke Seminar Series Information Dr. William H. N. Gutzke

The Ecological Research Center

 in collaboration with

The Department of Biological Sciences

 is pleased to host

Daniel Warner

University of Alabama at Birmingham

Department of Biology

who will present

"Environmental and maternal effects on embryo development in reptiles: Experimental tests of adaptive significance"


Ellington Hall Auditorium

4:00 PM refreshments will be served at 3:30 PM


To University of Memphis graduate student Wallace Starke, biology professor and former faculty senate president Dr. William H.N. "Bill" Gutzke, was more than a professor.

"He was much more than an adviser and professor to me," Starke said. "He was a friend."

Gutzke, 54, died of a heart attack April 27, 2004 leaving behind a loving legacy at The U of M.

Often wearing blue jeans and T-shirts, longhaired at times and sporting an earring, Gutzke seemed more like a friend than a biology professor, Starke said.

"He used to have us (students) over to his house for cookouts," he said. "We would go see movies and hang out."

Gutzke's teaching style made biology classes interesting for his students, leaving quite an impression.

"He's one of the most intelligent people I've ever met," Starke said. "He would walk into the classroom and just start talking, no notes or handouts, just straight out of his head.

Gutzke made the same impression on his friends and colleagues.

"He was brilliant," said Dr. Michael Ferkin, U of M biology professor. "He was very well read in the sciences and philosophy.

"Bill was a very fair man, but he had high expectations for people. He was an incredibly loyal and solid friend."

Gutzke was always very supportive of his students' research, Starke said.

"He was pretty hands-off until you finished your work. Then he'd tear it to pieces," he said.

Gutzke was never afraid to tell people what was on his mind, said those who knew him.

He served as senate president in 2000-01 and was outspoken and quick to take action on behalf of his fellow faculty members. In September 2000, Gutzke called for faculty members to boycott The U of M Student Recreation and Fitness Center because of an increase in fees for non-students using the facility.

"He was dedicated to his students and The University. He tried to make it a better place to work and to raise the academic standards," said Ferkin.

During his term as faculty senate president, Gutzke also served on the search committee that brought President Shirley Raines to The U of M.

Outside of the lab and away from The University, Gutzke spent a lot of time with his family.

"He really loved his family," said Starke. "He spent a lot of time with his kids."

Gutzke's work and other circumstances added to his rich and exciting life.

As a college student, Gutzke made an unplanned trip to Vietnam after Virginia Tech forgot his student deferral during the draft.

"I don't think he was too happy with Virginia Tech when he came back from Vietnam," said Starke.

Gutzke's travels included trips to the Galapagos Islands and Trinidad for research.

Among numerous other publications, Gutzke's research on temperature and sexual determination was published in Nature, one of the oldest and most prestigious biology publications in the world.

"He was very inspirational," Starke said. "He always wanted to get people out in the field for research."


(From The Daily Helmsman 06/10/04)



The William H.N. Gutzke Memorial Seminar Series was established by the Ecological Research Center in 2005 to honor the late Bill Gutzke , a well-known herpetologist and a long-time faculty member in the Department of Biology. Dr. Gutzke received his Ph.D. from Colorado State University and did his post-doctoral work with James Bull at the University of Texas. Dr. Gutzke joined the Biology Department at Memphis State University in 1986, and was promoted Associate Professor in 1989. He was a member of the American Society of Zoologists, the Society for the Study of Evolution, the American Society of Ichthyologists and Herpetologists, the Herpetologists League and the Society for the Study of Amphibians and Reptiles
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