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by ASHS President John Dole
Thirty years ago this year, my first experience with ASHS was attending the annual meeting in Davis, California. I remember well the comradery among all of the graduate students from the University of Minnesota. We worked together to find a cheap hotel “near” the University California Davis, which, of course, ended up being miles away from campus. We banded together to figure out how to get to campus each day. For some of us, the trip was supported by our advisors, while others were on their own—so we shared rooms and food.
I was petrified of making my first talk. I practiced it over and over again until I had it memorized. For those of my age, you will remember that the slides were handmade with black and white film. I used colored markers to make various lines of text red or blue for emphasis—very avant-garde at the time.
Looking at the bigger picture, however, the meeting exposed me to the wide world of horticultural research, teaching, and extension and started me thinking about my career in horticulture. Up to that point, I knew that I wanted to work in floriculture, but hadn’t yet decided what my career would look like. At the meeting I got a chance to meet and talk with faculty whom I had only known previously as names on papers and books. Seeing all of the work of people from around the country inspired me to become an academic.