By STEVEN NALLEY
Bruce Leopold, head of Mississippi State University’s wildlife, fisheries and aquaculture department, was named in November as a Fellow in The Wildlife Society, an international organization representing nearly 11,000 wildlife professionals.
According to the organization’s website, TWS selects a maximum of 10 fellows per year and appoints them for life. George Hopper, dean and director of the of the MSU College of Forest Resources, said fellowship is the highest grade of membership in several professional societies, and Leopold’s fellowship will benefit MSU’s reputation.
Previously, Hopper said, Leopold served as president of TWS, playing a major role in building the TWS-MSU relationship together with other faculty who are TWS members.
“Mississippi State University has cooperated on several symposia with The Wildlife Society and will continue to work cooperatively with the society to advance the parallel missions of the two entities,” Hopper said. “The Wildlife Society’s mission is to serve those who study, manage and conserve wildlife and its habitats. A component of the mission of MSU’s Forest and Wildlife Research Center (the research arm of the College of Forest Resources) is to expand, through research, the knowledge upon which wildlife and fisheries disciplines are based and to conserve, develop and use natural resources for the betterment of the state, nation, and world.”
Paul Krausman, current TWS president, said Leopold was named a fellow in part because he leads one of the most prestigious wildlife departments in America. He has also made several scientific contributions through publications and graduate students.
“He is clearly a key player in the profession and will be a welcomed addition to the other TWS Fellows,” Krausman said. “Bruce will continue to make contributions, and his leadership will continue even though his presidency is over. Bruce’s research is important (for) what it adds to the literature related to wildlife management, predator prey relationships and wildlife studies.
“However, his most important contribution is the education of the future leaders of our profession,” Krausman added. “Making sure they start with a solid ecological background, grounded in history, literature, ethics, and a respect for the land, wildlife and fellow humans is an accomplishment that is not to be taken lightly. He is a giant in the field, and I look for him to continue to be a productive member of TWS.”
Leopold said he hopes to use his fellowship to ensure wildlife resources are available to future generations and to continue mentoring those who seek careers in wildlife management.
He said he was humbled to be nominated and named as a TWS Fellow.
“Being named a fellow in any professional society is a great honor because you are only named a fellow if you have made significant contributions to the wildlife profession,” Leopold said “Even as the president of TWS gave me my pin on stage, I just couldn’t believe that I have indeed gained such prominence within my profession.”
Leopold said he has been a member of TWS since 1980, but he is not the first MSU faculty member to be named a TWS Fellow. He is the fourth.
“Given what it takes for TWS to name a fellow,” Leopold said, “this is an important milestone for MSU and further supports the contention that MSU’s wildlife research and education programs is nationally prominent.”