Dr. Vernon Vandiver received his B.S. degree from the University of Florida in 1965 and a Ph.D. from North Carolina State University in 1975. The length of time between these two degrees was due to active military service, which he continued as a reservist for many years. Dr. Vandiver joined the University of Florida Fort Lauderdale Research and Education Center in 1975 as an assistant professor working with aquatic weed management.
The early years of Dr. Vandiver’s career is considered by many to be an era when aquatic plant management was still in its infancy. New herbicides were being developed for aquatic sites and application technology was evolving at a frenetic pace. Dr. Vandiver saw this as an opportunity to provide standardization of practice through cooperative extension training. Starting in 1976, the University of Florida Aquatic Weed Control Short Course was initiated as a week-long event directed specifically to practitioners and aquatic managers. This event soon began to fill and overflow successively larger venues as word spread about the quality of the program. To this day, the Short Course continues to draw and train approximately 500 annual attendees.
Dr. Vandiver has been an active participant and leader in numerous scientific societies including Florida Aquatic Plant Management Society, Weed Science Society of America, and most notably, the Aquatic Plant Management Society. Though Dr. Vandiver retired from the University of Florida in 2002, he has remained active in the field through private consulting. He has remained closely engaged with APMS where he served as Board member as recently as 2013-2016 and currently Chairs the Bylaws and Resolutions Committee. He also retired from the U.S. Air Force with the rank of Colonel.
Dr. Vandiver has spent a career working with aquatic plant management and has always been available, prepared, and an example of dignity and class. He has been an excellent role model for young scientists and an ambassador for the Aquatic Plant Management Society.