George Kennedy, ESA Fellow (2003)

Dr. George G. Kennedy, a William Neal Reynolds distinguished professor of agriculture at North Carolina State University (NCSU), was elected as Fellow in 2003.  He is known for his work on the ecology and management of insect pests of agricultural crops, insect-plant interactions, and on the epidemiology and management of Tomato spotted wilt virus transmitted by thrips.

Dr. Kennedy was born in Amityville, NY in 1948.  While growing up he enjoyed a variety of outdoor sports, gymnastics, and fishing.  He received hisB.S. degree from Oregon University in 1970, and his Ph.D. degree from Cornell University in 1974.

His research focuses on fundamental processes acting on pest populations at the landscape scale, factors involved at the insect-crop interface that influence plant damage, and on improving the efficiency and sustainability of arthropod management in agricultural crops. Currently, he is working in collaboration with faculty in entomology, plant breeding, and plant pathology at NCSU and other institutions to explore the processes that drive thrips population dynamics and the epidemiology of tospoviruses. An important component of his research program involves sharing his findings with the agricultural community to facilitate the realization of new pest management practices.

Kennedy has received many awards and honors in his career.  He was recognized as distinguished lecturer at the University of Assiut, Assiut, Egypt in 1981, was selected to give the A.M. Boyce Lecture in Entomology at U.C Riverside in 1987, the Charles Chesley Doane Lecture in Entomology at the University of Wisconsin in 2006, and the Dwight M. DeLong Memorial Lecture at The Ohio State University in 2014. He received the L. M. Ware Research Award for Outstanding Research in Horticulture from the southern region of the American Society of Horticultural Science in 1989 and ESA’s Award for Excellence in Research in 1997.  He was named an Honorary Member of ESA in 2010 and was awarded the Entomological Foundation Medal of Honor in 2011. 

Kennedy has served entomology in many roles.  He served as program manager for the USDA Competitive Research Grants Program in Entomology & Nematology in 1984 and 1986, on the editorial committee of the Annual Review of Entomology from 1987–1991, as associate editor for the journal Entomologia Experimentalis et Applicata from 1994–2009, and was co-chair of ESA’s Special Committee for the Insect Pest Handbook series.  In early 1993, and for several years thereafter, he initiated and organized the ESA Student Debates with his colleagues Fred Gould and Robert Kopanic and the debates are now a permanent fixture at all ESA Annual Meetings. He served on the ESA Governing Board as Section F Representative from 1989–1992 and as Southeastern Branch Representative from 1993–1996. In 1998 he served as President of ESA. From 2009–2012, he served as head of the Department of Entomology at North Carolina State University.

In his free-time he enjoys fishing, hiking, and riding his horses.

(updated April, 2014)