The Faculty History Project documents faculty members who have been associated with the University of Michigan since 1837, and the history of the University's schools and colleges. This project is part of a larger effort to prepare resources for the University's bicentennial in 2017. Find out more.

The Bentley Historical Library serves as the official archives for the University.


Robert Shaffer
Regents' Proceedings 75

Robert L. Shaffer, Lewis E. Wehmeyer and Elaine Prince Wehmeyer
Professor of Fungal Taxonomy in the Department of Biology and curator of
fungi in the Herbarium, retired from active faculty status on August 31,

Professor Shaffer received his B.S. (1951) and M.S. (1952) degrees
from Kansas State College and his Ph.D. degree (1955) from Cornell
University. He taught at the University of Chicago from 1955-60 and then
joined the faculty of the University of Michigan in 1960 as assistant
professor of botany. He was promoted to associate professor in 1963 and
professor in 1970.

Professor Shaffer also served as curator of fungi and director (1975-
86) of the Herbarium. During his tenure as director, the Herbarium received
a series of curatorial grants from the National Science Foundation worth
over $1 million. These grants enabled the Herbarium to purchase muchneeded
equipment and achieve new levels of curatorial excellence.

In the area of research, Professor Shaffer has centered on Russula, a
large and difficult genus of fleshy fungi, and through a series of publications
he has established himself as a leading expert in the systematics of Russula.
As an instructor, he has taught introductory courses in botany and biology,
as well as "Introduction to Mycology," a course essential for students in such
diverse areas as the Medical School and the School of Natural Resources
and Environment. His formal courses have always been marked by
meticulous preparation and a sincere commitment to giving his best to his
students. Professor Shaffer is also well known among area mushroom
fanciers for his popular adult education course on Michigan mushrooms.
Professor Shaffer has also been active in the Mycological Society of
America (including a term as president) and the North American
Mycological Association. He has also served as either member or chair of
most of the important committees in his department.

The Regents now salute this distinguished faculty member for his
dedicated service by naming Robert L. Shaffer the Lewis E. Wehmeyer and
Elaine Prince Wehmeyer Professor Emeritus of Fungal Taxonomy and
curator emeritus of fungi.