WEST LAFAYETTE, Ind. – Dr. Gary Bennett, professor and director of the Center for Urban and Industrial Pest Management at Purdue University, will be retiring on June 30, following a storied 50-year-stint leading one of the largest urban entomology programs in the country.
At this year’s Purdue Pest Management Conference, Bennett was recognized for having led the annual educational event for 50 years. In this same period of time, he’s helped develop many next-generation urban entomology researchers, and his lab has performed important research that has benefitted pest management professionals.
“I've enjoyed the ride and had a good time, and I will continue to work with the industry on some things. It just won't be at Purdue," said Bennett, 77, who told PCT he decided to retire in order to travel more with wife Milta and spend more time with the couple’s children and grandchildren.
Bennett said the decision to retire wasn’t easy, as he’s enjoyed leading the annual conference and other training events, as well as working cooperatively with PCOs and other industry professionals -- people he counts as his closest friends. Bennett said his professional highlights at Purdue include working on technology that has helped the pest control industry (e.g., IGRs) and observing students succeed in urban entomology-related fields post-graduation.
“Everything I’ve been involved with at Purdue and with the pest control industry I’ve enjoyed and that’s why I’ve stayed so long,” he said.
While Bennett’s post-Purdue plans in pest control aren’t fully plotted out at this point, he does plan on staying active with the Indiana Pest Management Association.
Purdue’s plans to replace Bennett’s position are to be determined. As PCT reported earlier this year, Purdue is in the process of filling the John V. Osmun Endowed Chair of Entomology at Purdue University -- a position that is expected to filled in time for the 2020-2021 academic year.