January 16, 2024

Wright retirement reception is Jan. 18

headshot of Nebraska's Bob Wright


A retirement celebration for Robert “Bob” Wright is 3 to 5 p.m. Jan. 18 in the Nebraska East Union. Wright retired Dec. 21, after 35 years serving as a professor of entomology and Nebraska Extension specialist.

“Bob Wright is the consummate Extension specialist, mentor, and colleague,” said John Ruberson, entomology professor and department head. “His career is rich with building others in myriad ways. He serves prolifically and without fanfare, never placing himself in the spotlight. His knowledge is expansive, and freely yet appropriately offered to all comers.”

Wright’s program focused on agronomic insect pest management research and extension. His research contributed to insect pest management in corn, soybeans, wheat, sorghum and alfalfa. At UNL he has served as coordinator of Nebraska Extension’s integrated pest management program since 1988; as chair and member of the Department of Entomology’s promotion and tenure and graduate committees, and several Nebraska Extension committees.

He has mentored 11 Master’s of Science students and seven doctoral students as either chair or co-chair of their supervisory committees. Wright also served on the supervisory committees for 21 Doctor of Plant Health students. Additionally, he has served as a member of numerous masters and doctoral supervisory committees in the entomology and agronomy departments.

In addition to his research and extension duties, Wright taught an online graduate entomology course, ENTO 825, Management of Agronomic Insects, in the fall of even years from 2008-2022, and was co-instructor for ENTO 888, Online MS Project, offered every semester, 2015-2023.

“Bob has had an immeasurably positive impact on the state, his discipline, and the professional and personal lives of countless people,” said Ruberson. “He genuinely personifies the mantra that every person and every interaction matters, and he will be greatly missed. We wish him the very happiest of times in retirement.”

Ruberson said that Wright has been approved for Emeritus status.

Wright has been active in the Entomological Society of America, including serving as program chair for the society and the North Central Branch program. He also contributed to the ESA as an at-large member, NCB executive committee (twice), NCB local arrangements co-chair, and as a member of several ESA and NCB committees. He has frequently served as a judge for student competitions at NCB and ESA meetings and has co-organized and moderated several NCB symposia. Wright has contributed to several United States Department of Agriculture programs including service on grant review panels for USDA-NIFA, Integrated Pest Management Centers, Environmental Protection Agency, as well as leadership and membership on several USDA multi-state committees and working groups.

During his career, Wright received several significant awards, including:

  • Outstanding Young Scientist Award, UNL Sigma Xi, 1990
  • University-wide Departmental Teaching Award, UNL Department of Entomology, 2015
  • Distinguished Achievement Award in Extension, North Central Branch, Entomological Society of America, 2015
  • Distinguished Achievement Award in Extension, Entomological Society of America, 2016
  • Extension Award of Merit, Nebraska Chapter, Gamma Sigma Delta, 2017
  • International IPM Award of Excellence, as a member of North Central Soybean
  • Entomology Research and Extension Team, International IPM Symposium, 2018
  • Excellence in Extension Team Award, member, Soybean Management Field Day Program, University of Nebraska Extension, 2019
  • C. V. Riley Award, North Central Branch, Entomological Society of America, 2020
  • Legacy Contribution Award, North Central Branch, Entomological Society of America, 2023