Willard Gersbacher | Plant Biology | SIU

Southern Illinois University



College of Agriculture, Life and Physical Sciences

faculty members

Willard Gersbacher

Willard GersbacherIn SIUC Botany 1929 to 1930, 1932

Professor Willard Marion Gersbacher was born in Springerton, Illinois, on 25 March 1906. In 1926, he obtained his bachelor's degree from Southern Illinois Normal College (now SIU) and taught during the 1929-1930 school year for the Botany Department. Next he went to the University of Illinois to earn a M.A. in 1928 and Ph.D. in Zoology in 1932. Dr. Gersbacher taught for a year at Eastern New Mexico Junior Colloge (1934-35); then he taught at Eastern Illinois College (1935-36). However, he returned to Southern in 1936 to join the Department of Zoology -- first at the rank of Assistant Professor (1936-38), then Associate Professor (1938-47), and finally as Professor (1947-onward). In 1938, he married and subsequently had five children. Dr. Gersbacher served as Department Head from 1938-1955. He taught various zoology courses, including Ecology and Natural History of the Vertebrates. SINC alumnus William Hill recalls the enjoyable annual field trip taken by Dr. Gersbacher's ecology class to the Reelfoot Lake area of western Tennessee. Dr. Gersbacher retired from SIU in 1966. Thereafter he taught at Southeastern Missouri State University until 1972. He remained in Cape Girardeau until his death in 1989.