Dr. F. Eugene Hester is a Wendell, North Carolina, native who earned his BS (1954) and MS degrees (1956) in Wildlife and Conservation Management at NCSU and PhD at Auburn University. He became an assistant professor of Zoology at NCSU in 1959 and taught Vertebrate Zoology in 1961–1962. He served as the first Unit Leader for the NC Cooperative Fishery Research Unit from 1963 to 1971, and taught several fisheries courses and trained numerous graduate students during that period. He then moved to Washington, DC, to the position of Chief, Division of Fishery Research within the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service. He became Associate Director for all USFWS research in 1973, and Deputy Director in 1981. During his tenure as Deputy Director, he served in an acting capacity as Director of the USFWS. Dr. Hester later became Associate Director for Natural Resources in the National Park Service. In addition to his numerous professional accomplishments (which include publishing a number of scientific journal articles and receiving the highest awards given by the Department of the Interior), Dr. Hester is also a highly accomplished photographer and freelance writer. His photographs have been printed in over 60 publications, including 45 cover photos for Wildlife in North Carolina. He has written two books on wood ducks and published many articles in Wildlife in North Carolina and popular magazines such as Our State.
Dr. Hester received his award from Dean Rich Linton at a college ceremony on October 11, 2013, at the NC State University Club. See photos below; biography by Joe Hightower.
Gene Hester receives CALS Outstanding Alumni Award from Dean Rich Linton. Left to right, Hester, Linton, Gary Upchurch, and Harry Daniels (Applied Ecology Department Head).
Gene Hester with fellow NC Cooperative Fish and Wildlife Research Unit and Applied Ecology colleagues. Front row (L-R), Joe Hightower (current Asst Unit Leader), Gene Hester (first Unit Leader), Tom Kwak (current Unit Leader); Back row, Ted Simons (current Asst Unit Leader), Harry Daniels (current Applied Ecology Department Head), and Garland Pardue (early Asst Unit Leader during Hester’s years).
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