Wilkes University Honors Kenneth Klemow with Lifetime Achievement Award

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Ken Klemow, recipient of the 2023 Lifetime Achievement Award

Kenneth Klemow, professor and chair of biology, received the Wilkes University Lifetime Achievement Award. The award, new in 2023, was presented to Klemow for over 40 years of service at Wilkes. He is set to retire at the end of May.

Klemow joined Wilkes in 1982 and has taught an array of courses in the biological, botanical and geo-environmental science fields, including introductory biology, ecology, field botany, medical botany, plant diversity and introduction to energy. While on the Wilkes faculty, Klemow has taught approximately 6,500 students.

“I enjoy teaching at Wilkes because I have the opportunity to interact closely with highly motivated students. I especially like our truly supportive learning atmosphere in which students view their classmates as colleagues and not as competitors,” he said. “Although Wilkes students are highly diverse in many ways, the student body can be described as being both intelligent and hard working. Students are sincere, honest and actively seek both personal and professional growth. Most of my students are individuals that are fun to be with, yet have the maturity to know that success comes through dedication to academic excellence.”

Klemow was nominated for the award by Jeff Stratford, professor of biology; Prahlad Murthy, professor civil and environmental engineering; William Biggers, professor of biology and William Terzaghi, professor of biology. All four nominators praised his work ethic, his collegiality, his teaching and mentorship of students and the impact of his scholarship.  

Klemow has incorporated the talents of over 160 undergraduate students into his research projects, ranging from wetland ecology and mapping, to restoration of land and waters impacted by coal mining and natural gas development, to medicinal attributes of plants. He serves as the curator and director of Wilkes’s Rosenthal Herbarium and its wetland and restoration ecology laboratory. He has partnered in education and information-exchange initiatives with the Pennsylvania Biodiversity Partnership, the Ecological Society of America and the Pennsylvania Biological Survey.

In 2010, Klemow received the prestigious Eugene Odum Award for Excellence in Ecology Education from the Ecological Society of America, and has earned the title of Fellow of that society.  Klemow is a certified senior ecologist and is listed in the Pennsylvania DEP Registry of Wetland Consultants and Professional Botanists.  He is an author or coauthor of 33 scholarly papers and book chapters, as well as 165 presentations at scientific conferences.

A native of Hazleton, Klemow received his bachelor’s degree in biology from the University of Miami. He earned his master’s degree and PhD from the State University of New York’s College of Environmental Science and Forestry in Syracuse.

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