Robert M. Skirvin (1947-) | University of Illinois Archives

Name: Robert M. Skirvin (1947-)

Historical Note:

Robert M. Skirvin (1947- ) is an emeritus professor of Horticulture at the University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign. He is recognized for his research and patents on small fruits and viticulture, including the Improved Chancellor Grape, Illini Hardy Blackberry, Everthornless Blackberry, Chester Thornless Blackberry, Dwarf Thornless Blackberry, and Hull Thornless Blackberry. In 2000, he received the College of ACES Paul A. Funk Award and was named a Fellow of the American Society for Horticultural Science in 2005. Professor Skirvin was also a distinguished pedagogue and mentor, including in the University Campus Honors program, and received numerous campus and external teaching awards, including the American Society for Horticultural Science Undergraduate Educator Award in 1998.

Robert M. Skirvin was born on October 27, 1947 in Burlington, Washington. In 1965, he began his undergraduate education at Oral Roberts University and transferred to Southern Illinois University, Carbondale, where he received his B.S. (1969) and M.S. (1971). Professor Skirvin completed his PhD (1975) at Purdue University in West Lafayette.

Professor Skirvin taught at Purdue University as an assistant professor of Horticulture from 1975-1976. In 1976, he came as assistant professor to the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign where he was promoted to associate professor in 1981 and full professor in 1988. He was visiting professors at research institutes in New Zealand (1985-86) and Australia (1990-91) conducting research on blackberries and apples. Professor Skirvin developed innovative courses at the University of Illinois such as Small Fruits and Viticulture.

Robert Skirvin is married to Mary Margaret Van Horn Skirvin. They have two children, Timothy and Daniel.

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