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Willard L. Lindsay

photo of Willard Lindsay

Degrees Awarded

  • B.S. Utah State University – 1952
  • M.S. Utah State University – 1953
  • Ph.D. Cornell University – 1956
  • Years at CSU – 1960-1995


Awards and Recognition

  • Fellow, American Society of Agronomy (ASA), 1969
  • Centennial Professor, CSU, 1970
  • Andrew Clark Faculty Award, Excellency and Creativity in Research, CSU, 1970
  • Fellow, Soil Science Society of America (SSSA), 1976
  • Sigma Xi Honor Scientist, CSU, 1980
  • Soil Science Award SSSA, 1980
  • Shepardson Faculty Teaching Award in Agriculture, CSU, 1983
  • National USDA Superior Service Award, 1987
  • Oliver Pennock Award, CSU, 1987
  • University Distinguished Professor, CSU, 1989
  • Soil Science Distinguished Service Award, Soil Science Society of America, 2002

Upon completion of his Ph.D. in 1956, Dr. Lindsay accepted a position as Soil Chemist with the Tennessee Valley Authority Fertilizer Development Authority at Muscle Shoals, Alabama.  In 1960, he began his long career at Colorado State University.  He first taught soil fertility and plant nutrition and worked on identifying micronutrient deficiencies in Colorado soils.


The major thrust of Dr. Lindsay’s professional career was to provide stimulating instruction to graduate students, and to participate with them in scholarly research.  He served as Major Professor for 30 Ph.D. graduates, the largest number in Agronomy Department history, and 11 M.S. graduates.  Many of his graduates now hold important teaching and research positions at universities and research institutions throughout the world.  In addition, he attracted over 20 visiting professors, post doctoral fellows, and colleagues who came to CSU specifically to take his graduate course and/or to participate with him in joint research.

Dr. Lindsay made classic contributions in many areas of soil chemistry and plant nutrition.  Key contributions were made in identifying phosphate minerals and their solubility relationship in soils.  He and his graduate students pioneered in the development of stability diagrams for predicting the stability relationships of metal chelates in soils and aqueous environments.  Dr. Lindsay and his associates developed the DTPA micronutrient soil test which became a world standard.  He also introduced the use of pe&pH as a useful redox parameter for understanding redox relationships in soils and natural environments.


A significant scientific contribution was Dr. Lindsay’s textbook Chemical Equilibria in Soil published in 1979.  The book was the result of more than 20 years of integrated graduate teaching and research.  It has been used in many universities and research laboratories around the world.  It offered a new approach for understanding soil chemistry and for developing research hypotheses that can be tested in the laboratory and field.  Dr. Lindsay has presented over 240 lectures and paper presentations in more than 20 countries on six continents.  His unique approach for examining the equilibrium relationships in soils has been widely disseminated through the classroom, publications, special lectures, visits, and students.

In 1989, Dr. Lindsay was promoted to the rank of University Distinguished Professor, the highest recognition bestowed on any CSU faculty.

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