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IPPS establishes Orton endowment


The International Plant Propagators' Society Eastern Region Foundation recently announced the formation of a named endowment fund to honor long-time IPPS member Dr. Elwin Orton for his exceptional contributions to the Society and to the industry.  At the IPPS-ER conference in October, Foundation Executive Director Paul Cappiello was "honored to announce the establishment of the Elwin Orton Endowment Fund at the IPPS-ER Foundation. This planned $15,000 honorary fund will help to fund research and scholarships to support the future of our industry and serve as a tribute to Elwin's career as a pioneer, inventor, educator, researcher, plantsman, colleague and of course, as a 43-year member of IPPS. Through that time, Dr. Orton has not only hybridized dogwoods, hollies and the like, he has helped to launch many a horticulture career and embodied the IPPS Seek and Share motto."  

Orton is a Professor Emeritus at the Rutgers University Department of Plant Biology and Pathology.  He has spent 48 years breeding plants for improved qualities, first with hollies, then with dogwoods. Orton has a global reputation for his efforts in plant breeding and has received numerous prominent awards for his outstanding work not only from industry groups but most recently from the New Jersey Inventors Hall of Fame. 

"I have had the good fortune to be a member of IPPS for 43 years", Orton reflected.  "My career as a woody ornamentals plant breeder benefitted greatly from the knowledge I gained at IPPS meetings.  The assistance, cooperation, support, ideas, and encouragement provided by the many wonderful friends I met through attendance at IPPS meetings were all of great value and made the meetings very enjoyable.  I have never missed an annual meeting of IPPS unless there was a very important reason for my not being able to attend. "  In acknowledging the tribute at the Region's annual conference, Orton said that he was extremely honored but humbled by the recognition. 

Dr. Orton was named a Fellow of the IPPS Eastern Region in 1993 and received the Society's highest award, the Award of Merit in 1995.  Orton refers to the IPPS as an "exceptional organization with the motto To Seek and To Share" (information on plant propagation and production). 

Donations to the Elwin Orton Endowment Fund can be made online or by check made payable to IPPS Eastern Region Foundation and mailed to 1700 North Parish Drive, Southold, NY  11971.  Please indicate 'Orton Endowment' on the memo line. 

For those interested in additional information on Orton's extraordinary career as a woody plant breeder, the September/October  issue of American Gardener, the American Horticultural Society's magazine, has an in-depth article that details the progression of  his research program, including photos of some of the dogwood and holly hybrids he created.