William Campbell Dickison, professor of biology at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill and internationally noted plant anatomist and morphologist, died on 22 November 1999. This tribute chronicles his life journey and elucidates his accomplishments in and contributions to botany.
William Campbell Dickison (Fig. 1) was a plant anatomist and morphologist of international distinction. His life journey took him to the Gulfport-Biloxi, Mississippi, region, to Des Plaines and Macomb, Illinois, to the Bloomington campus of Indiana University, to the deserts of Arizona, to the mountains of Virginia, and finally to the North Carolina college town of Chapel Hill. He was influenced by experiences in each of these settings. This biographical tribute greatly expands on insights of BilI's life and accomplishments given by Gensel (2000), Wheeler (2000), White (2000), and Burk (2001).
Even though William C. Dickison was weakened by his long battle against bonemarrow cancer, he was reading final page proofs and making text corrections for his new book on plant anatomy up to his last days. In fact, he maintained an optimistic outlook that extended beyond this publishing venture, as confirmed by discussions he had with a close colleague about his desire to write a textbook on plant diversity. Although Bill was first diagnosed with cancer in the spring of 1992, few of us knew that he was ill until the affects of his medical treatments became apparent. His dedication to research in plant anatomy and morphology prevailed, and his commitment to teaching continued until just weeks before his untimely death on 22 November 1999. The botanical and academic community has lost a genuine scholar and compassionate friend. His legacy includes landmark publications that will influence the thinking of present and future botanists and scholastic ideals that will live on through those who were associated with him.