2000 Pioneer Lecture Honoree
Dr. John T. Creighton (1905-1979)

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Dr. John T. Creighton was born in Orangeburg, South Carolina on August 4, 1905, the son of Alonso and Elizabeth (Harmon) Creighton. He received his BS and MS degrees in 1926 and 1929, respectively, from the University of Florida and his Ph.D. degree in 1935 from Ohio State University. He was also a student at Clemson Agricultural College in 1922-4 and Cornell University in 1930.

Dr. Creighton was a very accomplished educator. He taught chemistry at Gainesville (Florida) High school, 1926-7; was a graduate instructor in entomology at the University of Florida, 1927-9; Instructor, Department of Entomology, 1929-31; Assistant Professor, 1931-7, and Professor and Chairman of the Department of Entomology, 1937-65. Dr. Creighton became a member of the Graduate Faculty at the University of Florida on January 16, 1951. During his administration the first Ph.D. degree in entomology was awarded on June 11, 1962 (The Ph.D. in Entomology was approved November 6, 1958 by the Graduate Council, November 20, 1958 by the University Senate, and December 12, 1958 by the Board of Control, now Board of Regents). On September 28, 1967 the name of the major was changed from Entomology to Entomology and Nematology. During his career at the University of Florida, Dr. Creighton served as faculty committee chairman for 21 MA, 6 MSA, 13 MS and 7 Ph.D. degrees. During his career he authored 38 scientific publications.

Dr. Creighton contributed expertise and guidance to a wide range of organizations. For example, he served as a field agent for the Bureau of Entomology, U.S. Department of Agriculture, 1930; technical advisor, (U. S.) Bureau of Entomology and Plant Quarantine, 1938-1939; head of the pest control division, University of Florida, 1932-65; entomology research consultant, Velsicol Corporation, 1946-9, Dow Chemical Company, 1947-8, Hercules Powder Company, 1947-8, Carbide & Chemical Company, 1946-7, Inter-American Institute of Agricultural Sciences, Costa Rica, 1949-50, Standard Oil Company, 1948-9; member, Florida Structural Pest Control Board (Chairman, 1947-61); Special Technical and Economic Mission to Thailand, (Dr. Creighton organized the department of entomology at the national university in Bangkok.); member, American Association of Economic Entomology (many committees, President 1949-50); Entomological Society of America, Florida Entomological Society (Secretary, 1930), Florida Beekeepers Association, Florida Anti-Mosquito Association, Southern Shade Tree Association (President, 1942), National Shade Tree Conference (member, Board of Governors, 1942-3), Association of Southern Agricultural Workers (member, Executive Committee, 1949-50), Newell Entomological Society (organizer, faculty advisor, honorary member), Florida Pest Control Association (advisor and parliamentarian, 1945-50, honorary member), American Association for the Advancement of Science, Florida State Horticultural Society, Florida Soil Science Society, Sigma Xi, and Phi Sigma.

He perhaps is best remembered for his contributions to the field of structural pest control. He promoted organization of the Florida Pest Control Association, drafted vital legislation concerning structural pest control (Florida Structural Pest Control Act, 1947) and guided it through the Florida Legislature, established the standards and wrote the first examinations for certified structural pest control operators in Florida, developed a strong curriculum at the University of Florida relative to structural pest control, and is generally recognized as the person most responsible for the high standard of ethics and professional competency which characterizes structural pest control in Florida.

He was also a devoted husband and community leader. He married Myrtle Beth Cassaway on January 3, 1935. They settled in Gainesville where he was a Mason and Methodist. He was also a member of the Rotary Club of Bangkok, Thailand. Dr. Creighton took special pride in helping the graduates of his department find jobs in the field of entomology. He organized the first placement service for students at the University of Florida in 1937. Dr. Creighton retired September 30, 1969 and continued to reside with his wife at their home in Gainesville. Following prolonged illness, he died at the University of Florida Medical Center on May 23, 1979. He was buried in Lincolnton, Georgia.

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6/07/00 Norm Leppla
Modified from Howard Weems, Florida Entomologist 63 (1) March 1980, page 196-198