Plant Sciences


| Share

L. R. Waldron

(the following information is taken from Dr. Waldron's nomination form)

L.R. Waldron

Contributions made to North Dakota’s agricultural industry by
Dr. Lawrence R. Waldron:

  • Since its inception in 1916 to 2001, NDSU had only three spring wheat breeders. Dr. Waldron became North Dakota’s first wheat breeder in 1915. He served in that position until he was replaced by Dr. Glen Smith, NDSU’s second plant breeder, in 1952.
  • Dr. Waldron was born in Michigan and moved to Fargo in 1896 to join an older brother, C. B. Waldron, who was teaching at the fledgling North Dakota Agricultural College (NDAC).  In 1899 he received a B.S. from NDAC.  Waldron worked at the college helping establish a herbarium and identifying many of the plants that grow in North Dakota. In 1902 he returned to the University of Michigan. He returned to NDAC as an assistant botanist following completion of his studies.
  • In 1905 the North Dakota legislature approved funds for a branch station at Dickinson. Waldron was hired as the first superintendent. His tasks included breaking land, building barns, a house and initiating research on various crops.
  • One of Waldron’s first accomplishments at the Dickinson branch station was identifying the superior hardiness “Grimm” alfalfa. In 1911 a bulletin on alfalfa production was published, followed in 1912 by a bulletin on alfalfa.
  • In 1915 he presented a paper on alfalfa production and so impressed the director of the experiment station that he was hired as NDAC’s first spring wheat breeder.  Waldron’s mission as a plant breeder was to study the patterns in wheat and to produce new varieties. Much of Waldron’s research and life work was influenced by the stem and leaf rust epidemic that plagued North Dakota wheat farms each year, but especially in 1904, 1916, 1950, 1953 and 1954.
  • During his career Dr. Waldron released 'Kota', 'Ceres' in 1926. Ceres at one time was grown on 4 million acres in the spring wheat growing area.  'Bison' was released in 1927 and 'Komar' another release was grown in both North and South Dakota, Iowa, Nebraska and Colorado. Subsequent varieties include 'Rival' and “Mida” which in 1949 was grown on 5.5 million acres in North Dakota. In the early 1950's at age of 75, he began research to combat stem rust which was devastating wheat production in the Dakotas.
  • Dr. Waldron died in 1954 just a couple years after his retirement. Ironically he died in a wheat field belong to his son-in-law.



  • BS, 1899, North Dakota Agriculture College, Fargo, ND
  • MS, 1904, University of Michigan
  • PhD, 1928, Cornell University


Employment History

  • High School teacher (2 terms), Hardscrabble, Michigan
  • 1896-1899: worked part time under H.L. Bolley while attending NDAC
  • 1899-1902: assistant botanist, NDAC
  • 1905-1915: helped establish and first superintendent of the Dickinson Experiment Station
  • 1915-1952: Wheat Breeder at NDAC


Professional organizations, career-related activities, civic and club activities.

Dr. Waldron served as a member of the Men’s Club and for many years served as treasurer. For several years he appeared on a local radio show “Stump the Professor.” He was president of the NDAC Alumni Associate in 1928.


Honors and Awards

  • Dr. Waldron was a member of Sigma Xi, a research honorary and the Royal Microscope Society of London.
  • In 1933 he was made a member of the Limmean Society of London, one of 15 scientists in the U.S.
  • In 1944 he was honored with a Doctor of Science Award by the Blue Key Society, an NDAC student organization.
  • In all organizations of which he was a member and the honors he received, he always represented the best interests of North Dakota and North Dakota agriculture.


Achievements attained within nominee’s profession and employment

Dr. Waldron dedicated his career and life to North Dakota agriculture. His improved wheat varieties had a major impact on the North Dakota economy.


Brief family history

Dr. Waldron married Emma Grofenstein from Jamestown in 1903. From this union three sons and two daughters resulted. Family was always a very important part of L.R. Waldron’s life. His only remaining child, Ruth Ann, lives in Moorhead, MN.

Creative Commons License
Feel free to use and share this content, but please do so under the conditions of our Creative Commons license and our Rules for Use. Thanks.