2003 Pioneer Lecture Honoree - Dr. Maurice Provost (1914-1977)

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The 2003 Pioneer Lecture honors Dr. Maurice W. Provost, an eminent scientist whose research on mosquitoes and wetland ecology established the foundation for the development and implementation of environmentally friendly and effective management programs for mosquitoes and mosquito-borne diseases in Florida. He was a devoted scholar with a great enthusiasm for entomology, ecology, aquatic biology, ornithology, conservation, and statistics and was in constant demand as a consultant and speaker. Dr. Provost served on numerous prestigious committees of such organizations as the National Academy of Sciences, the National Science Foundation, and the National Institutes of Health. In addition to being highly regarded internationally as a leading scientist working with mosquitoes, he was recognized as an excellent administrator.

Dr. Provost was born and raised in New Hampshire, and worked for the New Hampshire Fish and Game Department after receiving his B.S. degree from St. Anselm College in 1935.  He earned an M.S. in vertebrate zoology from the University of New Hampshire in 1940 and moved to Florida at the request of the Florida State Board of Health in 1942.  He left Florida to study Economic Zoology at Iowa State University and completed his Ph.D. in 1947.  He was subsequently assigned to the U. S. Public Health Service, Malaria Control in War Areas Program where he served as an area supervisor and State Entomologist.  After completing this assignment, he accepted a full time position with the Florida State Board of Health to direct research on mosquito biology and control.  He planned and organized the construction and staffing of the Florida Medical Entomology Laboratory at Vero Beach and served as its first director from 1954 until 1977.  In this role, Dr. Provost led development of Floridaís first comprehensive medical entomology research program.

 Dr. Provost received many awards and contributed to a variety of institutions during his very productive career.  He was given the Governorís Conservation Award (1970), Florida Entomological Society Annual Certificate of Appreciation (1971) and Entomologist of the Year Award (1975), American Mosquito Control Association Award for Distinguished Contributions to Mosquito Control (1972), and Florida Audubon Society Special Award (1974).  He served as president of the Florida Anti-Mosquito Association (1955), the Entomological Society of America delegate to the International Congress of Entomology in Moscow (1968), a member of the Florida Parks Advisory Council (1969-1970), a member of the National Academy of Sciences Public Health Study Team for An Assessment of Pest Control Technologies (1974-1975), and chairman of the Editorial Board of Mosquito News until 1977.

 In honor of Dr. Provostís distinguished career and entomological contributions the State of Florida and Florida Mosquito Control Association established the Maurice W. Provost Memorial Award that honors persons who have made outstanding contributions to mosquito control or biting fly biology in Florida.

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07/09/03 Richard Mankin