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Fred, Edwin Broun (22 March 1887–16 January 1981), bacteriologist and university president, was born in Middleburg, Virginia, the son of Samuel Rogers Fred, a landowner, and Catherine “Kate” Conway Broun. Fred’s interest in science began as a boy in Virginia. Having completed his B.S. at the Virginia Polytechnic Institute (VPI) in 1907, Fred stayed on to complete his M.S. at the same institution in 1908. While pursuing this first phase of graduate work, he held an appointment as an assistant in bacteriology. For his doctoral work Fred went abroad in 1909, getting his Ph.D. from the University of Göttingen in Germany in 1911. This was a natural decision given that the virtues of German graduate education were extolled by many at VPI, including bacteriology professor Meade Ferguson, who himself received a Ph.D. at Göttingen. Fred studied under some of the leading scientists of the day, including bacteriologist Alfred Koch....

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Russell, Harry Luman (12 March 1866–11 April 1954), bacteriologist and university administrator, was born in Poynette, Wisconsin, the son of E. Fred Russell, a physician, and Lucinda Estella Waldron. In many ways the career of Harry L. Russell recapitulated the history of science in modern America. In 1890, as a young University of Wisconsin graduate in biology, he followed the path of many hundreds of other budding professionals in seeking advanced training in Europe. His field, the “hot” new science of bacteriology, led him to the laboratories of the masters, Robert Koch and Louis Pasteur, and afterward to the Zoological Station in Naples. There, following Koch’s early lead, he did researches aimed at raising bacteriology to the status of a fully developed independent discipline. To his mind the new field deserved to be more than just an adjunct of medicine, and the remainder of his research career would be dedicated to that pursuit....