In Memoriam: Barbara Nelson Benson, 1940-2020

Barbara Benson, associate professor emerita of biological sciences at Cedar Crest College in Allentown, Pennsylvania, died on December 31 after contracting COVID-19 at a nursing home in Clemson, South Carolina. She was 80 years old and had suffered from Parkinson’s disease.

Born in Galesburg, Illinois, she grew up on the Nelson Knolls Dairy Farm in Alexis, Illinois, with seven brothers and sisters. As a young girl, she attended a one-room schoolhouse.

Dr. Benson held a  bachelor’s degree in biology from Knox College in Galesburg, Illinois. She went on to earn a master’s degree in biology from Pennsylvania State University and a  Ph.D. in biology from Southern Illinois University. Her doctoral dissertation was on dominance behavior and scent marking in fox squirrels.

Dr. Benson joined the faculty of the department of biological sciences at Cedar Crest College in 1973 and taught there until retiring in 2002. She served as department chair and worked as co-director of the Environmental Science Program. After retiring, Dr. Benson took on scientific and advocacy roles with the Pennsylvania chapter of Sierra Club, evaluating the literature and legislation and testifying before local and state legislatures to promote laws and policies to preserve the environment and ensure clean water.

Filed Under: In Memoriam


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