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Warren Red Leonard

photo of Red Leonard

Degrees Awarded

  • B.S. Colorado Agriculture College – 1926
  • M.S. University of Nebraska – 1930
  • Ph.D. University of Minnesota – 1940
  • Years at CSU – 1926 to 1966


Awards and Recognition

  • Harris T. Guard Distinguished Service Award, CSU, 1966
  • Fellow, American Society of Agronomy, 1957
  • Legion of Merit, U.S. Army, 1947
  • Commendation for Meritorious Civilian Service, U.S. Army, 1949
  • Honorary Member, Japanese Society of Breeding, 1963

Warren Leonard, known as “Red” by most everyone, was a long-time champion crops and genetics teacher in the Department. He graduated from the Colorado Agricultural College with a B.S. degree in 1926 and began his career as Assistant Extension Agronomist and then Assistant Editor of Publications. In 1929, he joined the Department of Agronomy as Assistant Professor. He taught several courses in crop production and genetics including the introductory course in genetics. His research resulted in papers on barley genetics, corn, sorghum, sunflowers, flax, buckwheat, applied statistics, and world food problems. Dr. Leonard was recognized professionally in numerous ways, but especially for his dedication to student teaching and advising. Many returning alumni have declared that Dr. Red Leonard was the person who motivated them to continue their careers in agronomy, crops and plant breeding.

Dr. Leonard possessed a unique talent in writing and speaking. Many students throughout the world received instruction from three major textbooks authored and co-authored by him, “Principles of Field Production,” “Cereal Crops,” and “Field Plot Techniques.”

During World War II, Dr. Leonard served as Chief, Agriculture Division, Natural Resources Section, General Headquarters, Japan, on General Douglas MacArthur’s staff.  For this work he was presented with several prestigious awards. He was closely associated with Japanese land reform. Dr. Leonard was especially proud of his role in reestablishing support for basic work in genetics and plant breeding in postwar Japan.

Dr. Leonard died in 1966 at age 60 after an illustrious 40-year career. Each year since 1979 he is remembered when the Warren “Red” Leonard Award is presented to the “Outstanding Senior” in the Department in conjunction with the American Society of Agronomy.

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