Following the pattern of President Conant's roving professor plan, the Corporation yesterday appointed Elmor Drew Merrill, professor of Botany at Columbia and world-famous botanist to the post of Professor of Botany at and Administrator of Botanical Collections.
At present the botanical collections of the University are spread throughout the whole area of Cambridge with the Forest in New Hampshire, the Arnold Arboretum in Boston, and the Gardens in Cuba. There are various other botanical groups in the Gray Herbarium, the Botanical Gardens, the Biology Department, and the Biological Museum.
It has been proposed that all these collections be gathered under the same roof in a new building similar in scope to that of the Biological Laboratories. There are obvious objections, however, due to the physical operations involved. The Arnold Arboretum is entirely too complicated to move to Cambridge and the work of the Botanical Gardens in Cambridge which is used principally to supply specimens for classes can best be carried on near to the main part of the College.
As a compromise step, it has been decided that a central authority would be useful in coordinating the work which is carried on in the various units. Professor Merrill will take over this work.
Merrill has described about three thousand new species of plants of Australasia and Indo-Malayia. He is also an authority on the plant life of North America.