Ralph Caldwell was a dynamic, innovative plant pathologist and plant breeder. His contributions to small grain cereal production in the Eastern United States were at the top of his field, and his achievements brought respect and honor to the Purdue University/US Department of Agriculture small grain research and breeding program, which he led. His approach to scientific problems was incisive. Dr. Caldwell was practically oriented, never losing sight of the societal benefits of his work. Nevertheless, he was a strong participant in and supporter of more basic research-believing that it was essential but not the total answer. One of his guidelines was that the applied program breeding for disease resistance-was central and required a team effort. As department head, he initiated the Purdue research program in soybean diseases. Caldwell was also a productive advisor of graduate students. He encouraged
and challenged students to do their own thinking. Caldwell served the American Phytopathological Society in several official capacities, including President of its Northcentral Division and Treasurer/Business Manager.