Tom S. Cooperrider ’50

B.A., Denison University, 1950
M.S., University of Iowa, 1955
Ph.D., University of Iowa, 1958

Botanist and Educator

Tom Cooperrider has forged a distinguished career in the field of botany as a scholar, teacher, and conservator of biological diversity. After receiving his Ph.D. from the University of Iowa in 1958, he joined the Department of Biological Sciences at Kent State University, where he rose to full Professor and completed thirty-five years of active work in 1993. He and his wife Miwako K. (“Mix”) Cooperrider enlarged the Kent State herbarium from 1,500 to more than 60,000 specimens, collected mostly from Ohio.

From 1969 to 1997, Tom headed the Ohio Flora Project of the Ohio Academy of Science, a massive systematic study of Ohio’s plant life that catalogs and describes all plant species within the state and maps their occurrence. In this capacity, Tom has both edited and authored volumes of The Dicotyledoneae of Ohio. Earlier he wrote The Ferns and Other Pteridophytes of Iowa. In addition, he has published numerous professional articles.

Tom’s editing of Endangered and Threatened Plants of Ohio and his service as consultant to the U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service have contributed to the conservation of rare plant species in the Midwest. In addition, he has served on the Board of the Ohio Biological Survey, an organization that in 1994 recognized Tom with its prestigious Osborn Award for his commitment to research, teaching, and conservation. A year later, the Ohio Department of Natural Resources dedicated the Tom S. Cooperrider-Kent Bog State Nature Preserve in his honor. Recently Tom hosted a tour of the bog for a group of Denison students. He is the author of an article, “On the Flora of Ohio,” in the most recent issue of The Denison Journal of Biological Science.

Tom is a U.S. Army Veteran of World War II. He and Mix live in Kent, Ohio. They are the parents of two grown children, Julie A. Cooperrider and Denison alumnus John A. Cooperrider ’85. They have one grandchild, Julie’s son Matthew. Mix and Julie are both graduates of Grinnell College in Iowa.