Professor Blaire Van Valkenburgh, an internationally renown vertebrate biologist and paleontologist, has been appointed the inaugural Donald R. Dickey chair in Vertebrate Biology within the Department of Ecology and Evolutionary Biology. This endowed chair was created through a generous endowment from Donald R. Dickey, Jr. and Hisae Dickey. The endowment supports the professor who stewards the Donald R. Dickey Bird and Mammal Collection; it also supports the curation and maintenance of the collection.
The Dickey Bird and Mammal Collection is one of the world’s best collections of bird and mammal specimens from the American southwest and Central America. It houses nearly 64,000 specimens from North and Central America, and from islands in the Pacific. Also included in the collection are Donald R. Dickey’s rare photographs, books, and field notes. The invaluable collection of specimens are actively used, both for research and for undergraduate teaching. Professor Van Valkenburgh has curated the collection since 1986, and led the effort to bring the collection to its current optimal conditions in UCLA’s Hershey Hall.