The Ecological Research Center
in collaboration with
The Department of Biological Sciences
is pleased to host
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"
February 21, 2013
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,"
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
"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,"
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)