Dr. Wakar Uddin


Faculty, staff, and students in the Penn State turfgrass program are deeply saddened by the loss of our friend and colleague, Dr. Wakar Uddin, who passed away last week following an extended illness.  Dr. Uddin was a Rohingya American, born in Maungdaw, Arakan State Burma/Myanmar. After immigrating to the United States, he obtained his B.S. and M.S. degrees in IPM from the University of Nevada. He received his Ph.D. in Plant Pathology from the University of Georgia in 1996 for his dissertation: ‘Epidemiology and Management of Phomopsis Shoot Blight of Peach.’ He worked with former turfgrass pathologist Dr. Richard Smiley at Oregon State University, and at the University of Georgia Plant Disease Clinic, as well as other plant pathology jobs before joining Penn State in 1998 as our turfgrass pathologist. His expertise was in epidemiology and management of turfgrass diseases, population biology of turfgrass pathogens, host defense responses in turfgrass pathosystems, and chemical control of turfgrass diseases. His main research focus involved management of gray leaf spot disease of perennial ryegrass turf.  Dr. Uddin taught courses in turfgrass pathology to hundreds of undergraduate and 2-year certificate program students over his 20+ years at Penn State.


In addition to his work in plant pathology, Dr. Uddin served as Director General of Arakan Rohingya Union, a federation of 61 Rohingya organizations worldwide that is recognized by the international community as the official voice of the Rohingya people. He was also the Founding Chairman of The Burmese Rohingya Association of North America, and the President and Chairman of the Board of Trustees of Muslim Aid America. Numerous tributes to his work and accomplishments are posted on social media.  

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