The two oldest units of the University of Cincinnati were the Cincinnati College and the Medical College of Ohio both established in Cincinnati in 1819. In 1870, the Ohio legislature chartered the "University of Cincinnati" as a municipal university. The early University was organized into an Academic Department, a School of Drawing and Design, and an Observatory. There were three courses of study: the classical course, for a BA; the scientific course, for a BS; and civil engineering.

Prior to 1880 lectures were given in "Natural Philosophy" in the Academic Department and included the areas that subsequently became Biology; by the 1880's, Biology was a program of study under Natural History and Geology of the Academic Department. At the board meeting of November 1, 1892 the Biology Department came into existence when a professorship (chair) of Biology was established. In 1895 the name of the Academic Department was changed to the McMicken College of Liberal Arts and many previous "chairs" (including Biology) became known as Departments of the College.

In the early days of the Department, there generally was only one "professor", who then also was the "head" and he was "assisted" by persons of various rank. The University Natural History Museum also had personnel that taught courses in the Biology area, as well as curators, assistant curators, collectors, taxidermists, etc, who seemed to have a greater devotion to Geology than to Biology. There were courses offered in the evening and summers, with some cooperation with the Cincinnati Zoological Gardens at various times.

Between 1904 and 1906 the college was referred to only as the College of Liberal Arts, but then again became known as the McMicken College of Liberal Arts until the name, McMicken College of Arts and Sciences, was adopted in 1953. In 2019 the name of the college was changed to remove Charles McMicken's name and is now the College of Arts and Sciences.

Likewise, biology, first appeared as occasional lectures in "natural philosophy", then became organized as a program, then a chair, then a Department; was subsequently split into Departments of Zoology and Botany (1914), then Botany was expanded to include Bacteriology (1954); all three areas became (in 1957) the Department of Biological Sciences, the current Department. The action of the board in 1892 to recognize Biology as a discipline worthy of a chair can be selected as the point from which the present Department has evolved, even though some elements of Biology had existed prior to that date within the University (or within various component institutions that have been incorporated into the university, such as the various Medical Colleges, Dental College and Pharmacy Colleges).

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Departmental Facilities

It is interesting to follow the evolution of the Departmental facilities. The University (as the McMicken University) first occupied the old estate on McMicken Avenue where there was a "Natural History" laboratory and classroom. By 1900, new buildings had been constructed in the Burnet Woods Park, the first being old McMicken followed soon thereafter with two attached wings, Hanna Hall and Cunningham Hall at opposite ends of old McMicken. The Department occupied a portion of Cunningham Hall as described in the 1907 catalog:

"The Biological Department occupies the east half of the basement and the second and third floors of Cunningham Hall. The fixtures have been carefully designed to meet all the requirements of modern biological work, and the laboratories are well provided with optical apparatus and the various instruments of biological technique. Besides these, a liberal supply of more special appliances is at the service of the investigator. Special laboratories are provided for students taking advanced courses and courses of research.

"The anatomical laboratory in the basement is provided with slate-top dissecting tables, chemical desks, a stone pier for photomicrography, a tank for air pressure injection and an ice chamber for the storage of animals which are being dissected. Adjoining this laboratory are two small laboratories for research.

"On the second floor are the lecture-room, the departmental library, the general biological laboratory, together with its adjoining preparation-room, dark-rooms, and laboratories for students taking advanced courses and courses of research. The lecture-room can be darkened for the use of the stereopticon, and is provided with modern charts and models for the purposes of demonstration.

"The third floor, under a glass roof, is arranged a vivarium, and is adapted for research in experimental morphology and physiology. A constant temperature can be maintained by means of a special heating apparatus. The room is provided with a large land-and-water cage for amphibia, and a number of large plate-glass aquaria for marine and fresh-water organisms. Ample provision is made, moreover, for breeding and keeping reptiles, birds and mammals, and also for the cultivation of various kinds of plants.

"An affiliation has been established between the Biological Department and the Cincinnati Zoological Garden, one of the most famous institutions of its kind in America, whereby University students are offered very exceptional opportunities for the study of the habits and structures of wild animals".

By 1924, some rearrangements of the locations of the Departments were evident. When the Departments were split in 1914, or thereabout, Botany moved into the Old Tech Building, and Zoology moved to the Hanna Hall annex that later became known as the Herman Schneider Laboratory. The description of those facilities is given in the 1924 catalog in a most general way:

"The College of Liberal Arts occupies at present seven buildings. Of these, the oldest, McMicken Hall, completed in 1895, is used for the administrative offices and for the Departments of English, History, and Foreign Languages. Hanna Hall, its north wing, built 1895-6, is given over to the Departments of Economics, Philosophy, Political Science, Sociology, and Zoology; Cunningham Hall, the south wing, built 1898-9, is used by the Department of Physics. In the Old Tech Building, immediately east of McMicken Hall, are the Departments of Botany and Geology, and the University Museum. The Van Wormer Library of the University, completed in 1900, contains 90,000 volumes and 12,000 pamphlets. The Public Library of the city and the Lloyd Library and Museum, as well as the libraries of the Lane Theological Seminary, the Art Museum, the College of Music, and other institutions, are open to University students. Later structures are the Men's Gymnasium, completed in 1911, and the Chemistry Building and the Woman's Building, completed in 1916, the latter providing recreation and rest-rooms and a gymnasium and pool."

In 1930, a new Biology Building (now called Dyer Hall) was constructed and by the 1932 academic year, classes were listed for that building. This new building was built with consultation among the faculties of both Departments and permitted the laboratories to be adapted to the modern teaching and research in the areas of Botany and Zoology. Even a greenhouse was constructed on the roof, as the old greenhouse at ground level had been too easy a target for the Hughes High School students that cut through the campus on their way to and from school. The rooms for housing animals were located on the first floor and there was an enclosed courtyard behind the building that had kennels and garden areas. During and after the second world war, the animal facilities and some of the offices in the building were occupied by the Military Science Department (ROTC) on a continuing "temporary" basis. When the Cincinnati College of Pharmacy became affiliated with the University in the 1950's a connecting building was built between the Biology Building and the Teachers College Building to house Pharmacy. Biology and Pharmacy combined their libraries and stockrooms and shared some other facilities and space in the adjoining buildings.

In the fall of 1969, the Biological Sciences Department was moved into the buildings A-1, A-2 and A-3 of the Renton K. Brodie Science Complex. The construction had fallen behind schedule, and the move was made before the beginning of school, even though the building was not yet complete. Soon after completion of the move, the steamfitters went on strike and did not settle until the following March (1970). Classes were held that first winter in an unheated building with students taking notes with gloves on and clouds of steam rising with every breath during lectures. Luckily the plumbing never froze and the rest of the facilities were completed by those workmen willing to cross the picket lines. The new buildings were shared with the Chemistry Department as a Health-Related Sciences Center. The buildings are now Rieveschl Hall, Crosley Tower and the Chemistry-Biology Library.

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Biographical Notes

In the fall of 1888, Clarence Herrick came to Cincinnati on leave from the Biology Department at Denison. He formally joined the faculty in 1889, and not only was an excellent teacher but an avid researcher. Within three years, he and his students had published about 20 papers on the neuroanatomy of reptiles, fish, birds and rodents. While here, he founded the Journal of Comparative Neurology and had, as a student, Charles Turner, who received his B.S. and M.S. from UC and was a true driving force in establishing the journal. Turner later assisted in the Department before leaving UC to become the Department Head at Clark University in Atlanta. Turner is also notable as he was the first black man to receive a Ph.D. in Zoology from the University of Chicago.

Professor McMurrich followed Professor Herrick as the Professor of Natural History and Geology and expanded the curriculum for his program to include a separate course of study of biology. It was at his request that the board established the Professorship of Biology and he was the first to hold that rank. On McMurrich's retirement, Professor Edwards was appointed Professor of Biology.

Professor Edwards was a graduate of Indiana University with both a B.S and M.A., had started graduate study at Johns Hopkins, and completed his Ph.D. at the University of Leipzig in 1890. He was a teaching fellow at Clark University from 1890 to 1892, then an adjunct and assistant professor at the University of Texas until coming to Cincinnati in 1894. He also served as the Secretary to the Faculty of the University.

From 1871 until 1899 the University had been mostly governed by the Board and had only briefly (1885-9) had a president (Jacob Cox, an ex-governor) but afterward the executive office was fulfilled by rotations of Deans. A committee was formed in 1898 to search for a more permanent president. They identified and recommended to the board that Howard Ayers, the Head of the Zoology Department at University of Missouri, Columbia, be hired as the University President. When he first arrived, he was said to be extremely disappointed with the quality of the faculty and within a year he had asked for the resignations of almost all of the faculty. Only a very few stayed on in protest, most left and new appointments were made in their place. The new Head of Biology (Michael Guyer) had the dubious honor of having the University President counted among his faculty (Dr. Ayers faculty title was professor of anthropology and ethnology), and it is somewhat surprising that Guyer outlasted the President's tenure here. President Ayers had taken on quite a fight, and even with the former Dean of the Law School and then Governor of the Philippines, William Howard Taft, defending Ayers and his actions, he did not retain his position. (Taft had been a member of the search committee that had recommended Ayers to the Board). President Ayres did, however, manage to increase the national visibility of Cincinnati's Biology Department and the overall quality of the faculty in that area seemed to continue to improve.

Harry Wieman was an undergraduate and master's student at U.C. who returned, after receiving his Ph.D. at Chicago, to a career at U.C. He followed Guyer as the Department Head of Biology until, in 1914, the Department was divided into Departments of Botany and Zoology. He served as head of the latter until his retirement in 1948. A fund established from his estate is still used to support graduate research in the Department.

Photo of Harris Benedict

Harris Miller Benedict was known as the founder of the Botany Department and a highly-regarded plant physiologist. Harris and his daughter, Jean, were killed when his auto skidded into the path of an oncoming trolley while he and his son, Harris, Jr., and two daughters were on their way to the University for early morning classes. A memorial fund established in his name is used to support scholarships for botanical studies. Harris, Jr. became a professor at Stanford.

John Hoskins was Head of the Botany Department during the years that Lucy Braun was pre-eminent. E. Lucy Braun was a student and museum assistant in paleogeology and had an early interest in plant geography and distribution. She had a distinguished career and was widely recognized as the authority on the forest ecology of the eastern U.S. One of her study areas, the Hazelwood Preserve, remains as a holding of the Department, and continues to be used in research and for teaching.

Kip Weichert came from the University of Wisconsin to continue his research and to teach in his favorite area of comparative anatomy. After the retirement of Harry Wieman, Weichert was chosen to Head the Zoology Department. When Hoskins stepped down as the Head of Botany and Bacteriology, the Departments were combined to form Biological Sciences with Weichert as the Head. However, separate degree areas continued to be listed in the catalog for Botany, Bacteriology and Zoology under the Department of Biological Sciences. Weichert authored one of the most popular textbooks of comparative anatomy which is still considered a classic.

Photo of Tony Romano

When Wiechert was appointed Dean of the McMicken College of Arts and Sciences, William Spoor, a fish physiologist, became department head. He was followed by Antonio H. Romano, a bacteriologist who had been with the Taft Sanitary Engineering Center before joining the faculty at U.C. Romano was forceful in his motivation to see a rapid increase in research commitment for the Department. He pressed for better facilities and equipment and an expansion of the faculty, but resigned as head when it became obvious that his former department head, now dean (Weichert) could not deliver at the level of his expectations.

A search for a new head was started almost immediately and after a year in which Professor Gottschang served as the "Professor-in-charge" a new Head was appointed. Alex Fraser came from the University of California at Davis where he had been the Head of Genetics and Animal Husbandry. He considered himself an Australian although he had lived in Hong Kong when he was younger, had taken his Ph.D. in Scotland and had been in the United States for some years. By the time he was hired, a new building was in the final stages of planning, the foundation (a parking garage) had already been built. A commitment to expand medically related sciences at the University had won the University the support of the federal government to construct the largest federally-funded project to that date on a college campus. The Brodie Sciences complex was furnished with new equipment and a number of new faculty were hired, but the magnitude of the changes seemed to overwhelm some of the faculty. Many faculty left, transferred to the branch campus or retired, to be replaced with recently graduated Ph.D.'s. Growth of the Department was barely affected when some dissatisfied faculty called for the resignation of Fraser as the head and an interim succession of committees and acting heads guided the Department until Jack Gottschang was appointed head in 1975.

Gottschang was a vertebrate zoologist with great interest in the mammals of Ohio. He produced a reference/textbook on the mammals, but also worked with birds and reptiles. By the time he had assumed the headship, the surge of students that had chosen biology as a college major had begun to subside and the ranks of the faculty were only maintained as replacements were made for those few that left.

In 1983, Antony Mukkada, who had started in the Department as a post-doc with Professor Emily Bell before accepting a faculty appointment, was chosen as Head. The University administration had also changed and more students were beginning to seek graduate study in biology. Mukkada decided to emphasize graduate education and obtained two large awards from the state which were used to bolster the faculty ranks. He was also instrumental in securing a substantial award for undergraduate education from the Howard Hughes Medical Foundation.

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Past and Present Faculty

There are some real difficulties in establishing criteria for the inclusion of names on a list of faculty, especially in the years prior to 1925. There were various "assistants" that show up in the records offering courses and laboratories. In as much as it was possible to distinguish student assistants from faculty, we have tried to give the names of only the faculty. There were progressions of employment from student to graduate student to student assistant to teaching fellow to instructor before the rank of assistant professor. There generally was only one "professor", who then also was the "head" and he was "assisted" by persons of various rank in the different years. The University Natural History Museum also had personnel that taught courses in the Biology area, but only a few of those persons are included on this list. The museum had curators, assistant curators, collectors, taxidermists, etc, who seemed to have a greater devotion to Geology than to Biology. There were courses offered in the evening and summers, with some cooperation with the Cincinnati Zoological Gardens at various times. None of the evening, summer or adjunct persons have been included unless they also taught in the day school. We have used as a starting date the first time that a person's name appeared in the catalog or record, even if that was as a student assistant, if the person continued on to progress in rank. It is remarkable how many short-term appointments there were before the mid-sixties. Many of these seem to be interim instructors, hired only to teach one course, one time, but there are still a number of assistant professors that stayed only one to three years. even though the records may clearly show that an appointment was to biology, botany, zoology, bacteriology, histology, embryology or various other fields of biology (and the Departments of Zoology and Botany/Bacteriology were separated for a while), all faculty regardless of appointment language or departmental assignment have been grouped together on this list.

  • J. Playfair McMurrich 1892-94 (1st Biology Chair)
  • Charles H. Turner 1892-93 (Assistant)
  • Clara Langenbeck 1893-95 (Assistant)
  • Charles Lincoln Edwards 1894-1900 (Biology Chair, Department Head)
  • George Holferty 1895-98 (Instructor)
  • Charles Hahn 1899-1900 (Instructor)
  • Howard Ayers 1899-1904 (University President)
  • Michael Guyer 1900-11 (Head, Biology Department)
  • Harris M. Benedict 1902-28 (Head, Biol., 1911-14, Botany, 1914-28)
  • Harry L. Wieman 1905-7, 1908-48 (Head, Zoology, 1914-48)
  • Leon Peaslee 1907-11
  • Louis Sauer 1907-08
  • Cora May Box 1910-35
  • Vernon Lantis 1910-14
  • Raphael Isaacs 1910-15
  • E. Lucy Braun (1910-13, Assistant in Geology) 1914-48 Botany
  • Annette Braun 1911-16 (Assistant in Entomology)
  • Robert Chambers, Jr. 1912-15
  • Robert T. Hance 1913-14
  • Levi A. Giddings 1914-15
  • Joseph C. Stephenson 1915-18
  • Orville T. Wilson 1915-56
  • Reed O. Brigham 1917-18
  • Newton B. Green 1917-18
  • Lorna D. Card 1917-19
  • Edward C. Hanson 1918-19
  • Edward C. Day 1918-21
  • Floyd E. Beghtel 1919-25
  • Nelson Brooks 1922-23
  • George G. Snider 1923-29
  • Brack Bowman 1923-25
  • George Mynchenberg 1923-24
  • Robert K. Burns 1924-28
  • Mr. Sedgwick 1925-26
  • Delbert Swartz 1925-26
  • Otto M. Helff 1925-26
  • John Hobart Hoskins 1925-57 (Head, Botany, 1929-57)
  • Roderick Sprague 1926-29
  • Elizabeth Morse 1926-27
  • Edwin B. Steen 1927-32
  • Margaret Fulford 1927-74
  • Herbert Beeskow 1928-29
  • Charles "Kip" Weichert 1928-69 (Head, Zoology, 1948-57; Head, Biol. Sci., 1957-58)
  • Harry Muegel 1929-63
  • Alfred H. Povah 1929-30
  • Paul V. Jaqua 1929-30
  • Charles E. Packard 1929-31
  • Ernest H. Runzon 1930-35
  • William "Buck" Dreyer 1931-74
  • William Spoor 1936-68 (Head, Biol. Sci., 1958-64)
  • Harold L. Jeter 1948-49
  • William L. Sturm 1948-49
  • Jack Gottschang 1950-89 (Prof-in-charge 66-7, Acting Head 73-4, Head 75-83)
  • Frank R. Roegner 1953-56
  • Frank Etges 1954-95
  • Helen Norris Moore 1955-57
  • John L. Wood 1957-59
  • Emily Bell 1957-71
  • Thomas Wilson 1958-74
  • Andrew Butz 1958-94
  • Tony Romano 1959-71 (Head, Biol. Sci., 1964-66)
  • Charles T. Sehe 1959-61
  • Walter McDonough 1960-64
  • Christine Whitney 1961-84 (1946-61 Nursing and Health)
  • Anthony Montera 1961-71 (1953-61 N & H, transferred 1971 to RWC)
  • Walter Auclair 1961-65
  • Lawrence Jayko 1962-65
  • Daniel Malamud 1963-64
  • Wendell Leavitt 1963-67
  • Diederik "Dick" De Jong 1966-71 (transferred to RWC)
  • Carl Huether 1966-2007
  • Doug Winget 1966-2001
  • Alex Fraser 1968-89 (Head, Biological Sciences, 1968-72)
  • John Caruso 1968-2001
  • Larry Erway 1968-2003
  • Daniel Gist 1968-2003
  • Ralph Meyer 1969-2007
  • Steven Keller 1969-2010
  • John Wille 1969-71
  • Bruce Umminger 1969-78 (Acting Head, 1973)
  • Dick Beckman 1970-72
  • Mike Miller 1970-2008
  • LaFayette "Bud" Eaton 1971-73
  • Tony Mukkada 1971-2001 (Head, 1983-1997)
  • Robert Hehman 1971-94
  • Bill Duggelby 1971-74
  • Robie Vestal 1971-92
  • John Trela 1971-91
  • Edna Kaneshiro 1972-
  • Janice Beatley 1973-87
  • Jerry Snider 1974-2001
  • Thomas Kane 1974-2004 (deceased)
  • Rick Karp 1975-
  • Kathy Tepperman 1976-
  • Susan Dunford 1976-
  • George Uetz 1976-
  • Edwin Griff 1985-
  • Daniella Sciaky 1986-92
  • Charlotte Paquin 1987-
  • Mike Braun 1987-88
  • Max Iltzsch 1988-95
  • Jodi Shann 1988-
  • David Mindell 1989-94
  • Olle Pellmyr 1990-94
  • Steve Rogstad 1990-
  • Rebecca German 1990-2005
  • Brian Kinkle 1991-
  • Bruce Jayne 1991-
  • Dennis Grogan 1993-
  • Iain Miller 1994-2000
  • M. Suzanne Bradshaw 1995-2001
  • Ronald DeBry 1995-
  • Guy N. Cameron 1997- (Head, 1997 - 2011)
  • Michal Polak 1999-
  • Petren, Kenneth 2000- (Head, 2011- present)
  • Theresa Culley 2002-
  • Elke Buschbeck 2003-
  • John Layne 2005-
  • Daniel Buccholz 2006-
  • David Lentz 2006-
  • Stephanie Rollmann 2006-
  • Stephen Matter 2008-
  • Regina Baucom 2010-
  • Joshua Gross 2010-
  • Ishi Buffam 2010-

*(Prior to 1880 lectures were given in "Natural Philosophy" in the Academic Department and included the areas that subsequently became Biology; by the 1880's, Biology was a program of study under Natural History and Geology of the Academic Department. At the board meeting of November 1, 1892 the Biology Department came into existence when a professorship of Biology was established. Thus, this is used as the starting date for this list).

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