October 23, 2008
08-177

Jennifer Tanner
Communications Specialist

Lion Expert to Speak at 27th Annual Connell Lecture

VALDOSTA - The Biology Department at Valdosta State University will host the 27th Annual Connell Lecture at 7:30 p.m. Monday, Oct. 27, in the Bailey Science Center Auditorium.

Dr. Craig Packer from the Department of Ecology, Evolution and Behavior at the University of Minnesota will speak at the event, which is held in honor of the late Dr. C. Eugene Connell. Packer plans to address the topic "Why lions are disappearing from Africa. Can research help?"

The world's foremost expert on lions began his research as in undergraduate field assistant to Jane Goodall in Tanzania, where he developed an obsession for Africa. He returned to Tanzania in 1978 to head the Serengeti Lion Project and took his position at the University of Minnesota in 1983. His writings have been published in "Science and Nature," "National Geographic," "Natural History" and "Scientific American" and his book, "Into Africa," won the John Burroughs media in 1994.

Packer recently established Savannas Forever, an NGO in Tanzania that assists international aid agencies in improving public health, alleviating poverty and sustaining natural resources.

The Clyde Eugene Connell Visiting Lecturer Program became the first endowed visiting lecturer program at Valdosta State University in 1980, when the colleagues of Dr. Connell provided the funding to honor his retirement. Connell was a Naylor, Ga. native and VSU alumnus who returned to VSU in 1958 for a 22-year career, after receiving M.S. and Ph.D. degrees in Animal Ecology from the University of Georgia. After serving as biology department head and capturing many accolades, the professor retired in 1980 and passed away in 1985. 



The Connell Visiting Lecturer Program continues to be supported by private gifts. Tax-deductible contributions can by made to the Valdosta State University Foundation, Valdosta State University, Valdosta, GA 31698. For more information about the 26th Annual Connell Lecture call assistant professor Dr. Archna Bhasin at (229) 333-5768 or e-mail her at abhasin@valdosta.edu .