What becomes a scientist the most? For friends, colleagues and former students of Dr. Ernest Harris, it was a chance to come together and honor an entomologist whose discoveries have saved crops in Hawaiʻi and around the globe.
The intimate gathering at Gilmore Hall welcomed the delivery of an original oil painting by artist John Nichols. The romantic portrait depicts Dr. Harris and his wife, Betty Jo.
Dr. Harris, while in the Dept. of Plant and Environmental Protection Sciences, successfully implemented the first eradication program against fruit flies. His techniques saved millions of dollars of agricultural exports in Hawaiʻi, California, Florida and other states. They’ve been adopted in Mexico, Israel, Brazil, several island nations in the South Pacific, Tunisia, Morocco, and other African nations.
He was the recipient of CTAHR’s 2017 Outstanding Alumnus Award and a U.S. Congressional Gold Medal; he’s also listed in the USDA Agricultural Research Service’s Hall of Fame.
“Ernie was a legendary scientist and an outstanding person,” says Luc Leblanc, curator of the William F. Barr Entomological Museum at the University of Idaho and a CTAHR alum. “Ernie, along with the late Roger Vargas, was my role model as a scientist, a mentor and close friend.”
“The painting is in memory of my beloved and dear friend Dr. Ernest Harris and his lovely wife, Betty Jo, whom I have memories with from when we were graduate students in 1979 at the School of Public Health at Mānoa,” said John, an abstract surrealism artist. “Their love for each other is ever fresh, like the dew that appears each morning on the ever blooming tropical flowers whose aromatic fragrance is gently caressed by the tropical sea breeze as it delivers its daily rations of moisture to their rose garden in spring.”
The painting will permanently adorn the walls of Gilmore Hall in mid 2021.
Read a biography of Dr. Harris.