Former MABR Director Gast Dies
Robert G. Gast, who served as director of Michigan AgBioResearch from 1983 to 1995, died in June at age 78.
Ian Gray, vice president for research and graduate studies and former MABR director, served as MABR associate director under Gast.
“Bob Gast was a wonderful colleague and a strong leader who valued partnerships within and outside the university,” Gray said. “He created a vision for Michigan AgBioResearch that set it apart from other experiment stations in the country—the foundation he built for MABR continues to serve us well.”
“Bob was recognized nationally for his contributions to agriculture,” said MABR Director Steve Pueppke. “Under his guidance and leadership, the MABR significantly expanded its research portfolio and impact in serving the agriculture and natural resources communities. He will be missed.”
Gast served as MSU vice president for research and graduate studies from 1995 until his retirement in 1998.
A native of Missouri, Gast served in the U.S. Air Force in Korea and then received his bachelor’s, master’s and doctoral degrees in soil physical chemistry and mineralogy from the University of Missouri. He began his academic career at the University of Tennessee Atomic Energy Commission Agricultural Research Laboratory at Oak Ridge. From 1970 until his move to MSU in 1983, he was professor of soil science at the University of Minnesota.
Gast received many awards for his work to enhance and modernize agriculture in the United States and around the world, including being named a fellow and serving as president of the American Society of Agronomy and several other professional organizations.
He is survived by his wife, three children, seven grandchildren, a brother and two sisters.
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