William Lazenby, botany and horticulture

William Lazenby, (1850–1916) was a professor of botany and horticulture who joined the Ohio State faculty in 1881. He was a noted authority on forestry (e.g., Lazenby, 1913), who also served as the first director of the Agricultural Experiment Station upon its establishment in 1882.

Lazenby was actively involved in legislation that established the Ohio Agricultural Experiment Station. The Agricultural Experiment Station was not originally a part of the university, despite the fact that it was located on the Columbus campus, and its director was the chair of the university’s botany department. This unusual arrangement played out in the persistent political controversy over the university’s scope of instruction, where a strong lobby led by the state’s agricultural interests argued that the new university should limit its scope to agriculture and the mechanical arts.

Lazenby’s noted works include the Forests and Forestry of Germany (1913)and Qualities and Uses of the Woods of Ohio (1915).  He also authored a presidential address to the Society for the Promotion of Agricultural Science entitled “The relation of science to agriculture” (1896).

He was a member of the American Association for the Advancement of Science and president of the Ohio Academy of Science.  He was also one of the driving forces behind the establishment of the Ohio State Chapter of Sigma Xi, which continues to this day.