George Ball, Curator, E.H. Strickland Entomological Museum
“He was certainly the biggest single influence on my early development as a biologist, and he continues to inspire and mentor me to this day…. He welcomes anyone with a genuine interest in insects, and his only rules are respect for the specimens and a desire to work hard on one’s own projects.” - John Acorn, Curator, Renewable Resources Natural History Collection
Dr. George Ball has been the heart and soul of the E.H. Strickland Entomological Museum from his arrival at the University of Alberta in 1954, through his nearly 40 years as curator, and until this day in his role as professor emeritus.
During Dr. Ball’s tenure as curator, he oversaw a doubling of the size of the collection to more than one million specimens; more than 150,000 of these specimens were collected by Dr. Ball himself, emphasizing carabid beetles in Latin America. Together with Danny Shpeley, his assistant curator since 1974, Dr. Ball has been indefatigable in providing identifications of insects to researchers as well as the public.
He has dedicated 58 years to making the E.H. Strickland Entomological Museum a world-class centre of insect taxonomy and biodiversity research. Hundreds of researchers and collectors owe the accuracy of their work to Dr. Ball’s cheerful service to the larger scientific community.
Dr. Ball’s legacy is four-fold: his substantial personal contribution to our knowledge of ground beetles; his supervision of 40 graduate students and the mentorship of dozens more; his service for a decade as Chair of the Department of Entomology; and, of course, the insect collection in the Strickland Museum, now one of the finest and most important in Canada.