Dr. Phillip Mulder, ESA Fellows (2019)

Dr. Phillip Mulder, professor of entomology and department head of Oklahoma State University (OSU), was elected as an ESA Fellow in 2019. He is best known for extension work in several commodities, particularly pecan, and as department head at OSU for the past 12 years. As extension entomologist, he first reported on utility of the Circle trap, used in monitoring pecan weevil, Curculio caryae (Horn). As department head, Dr. Mulder and his team grew the undergraduate program at OSU from less than five students to nearly 70 students, recruiting double-digit enrollment in the major for the past seven years.

Phil was born in 1955, in Montgomery, Alabama, but began traveling the world at the age of 2 with his father (Air Force), mother, and sister. Even as a toddler, his interests in entomology were evident, as he spent hours outside in Japan playing with indigenous ants. When his father retired, the family moved to Michigan, where Phil attended Ferris State College and graduated in science education. He subsequently attended Iowa State University for graduate school under the direction of Dr. William B. Showers, USDA-ARS. He earned his M.S. and Ph.D. degrees from Iowa State University in 1981 and 1984, respectively. In 1985, he was hired by OSU as an area extension entomologist, transferred to the OSU main campus in 1995, and assumed statewide responsibilities for a number of commodities. Dr. Mulder attained the rank of associate professor in 2000 and professor in 2004.

Dr. Mulder served as advisor or co-advisor to four Ph.D. and nine M.S. students, and as a member of 16 M.S. and 11 Ph.D. student committees. Dr. Mulder has provided more than 2,500 extension, media outreach, and research presentations, and has authored or co-authored over 150 refereed publications, invited book chapters, extension publications, and research reports, including the first e-learning short course on pecan. He has obtained more than $4 million in research and extension competitive funding and in 2004 was recognized by ESA with the Distinguished Achievement Award in Extension. Phil served as extension coordinator for the department before assuming responsibility as interim department head in 2007 and department head in 2009. He continues to oversee two disciplines, 27 faculty, nearly 100 students, four degree programs, and various budget and personnel issues.

Phil has been a member of ESA since 1979, serving in many capacities, including president of the Southwestern Branch ESA, co-chair of ESA Program Committee, and chair/games master of Linnaean Games for ESA. Phil served as ESA treasurer and, in 2015, as president of ESA. In 2016, he was president of the Entomological Foundation. Phil chaired the 2016 ESA Science Policy Capabilities Committee and helped select the first 10 Science Policy Fellows for ESA. Collectively, Phil served ESA Governing Board for 10 years. He is an Honorary Member of ESA and an Honorary Fellow of the Royal Entomological Society of London.

Phil and his wife, Lori, celebrated 43 years of marriage in 2019. They are parents of three children, Adam, Elizabeth (Libby), and Daniel, and five grandchildren.

(updated September 2019)