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DAA: Daniel J. Cantliffe

Daniel J. Cantliffe

Gainesville, FL | Distinguished Ag Alumni: 1999

Daniel J. Cantliffe graduated from Purdue in 1967 with a masters in Horticulture. He earned his Ph.D. in Plant Physiology from Purdue in 1971. He is Chairman of the Horticultural Sciences Department at the University of Florida in Gainesville. Here are some of his thoughts on education, career, and life: His fondest Purdue memories: “Purdue was undefeated in football when I was there, and quarterback Bob Griese got the Boilermakers on the map. He was followed by Leroy Keyes and Mike Phipps, who all went on to the pros. Every time I see or hear those guys on television, I think of my years at Purdue.” On the value of a Purdue education: “Because of the excellence of the institution, I continually meet people I knew at school-all of us made out very well for ourselves. Purdue was simply the very best institution for what I wanted to study. My experience at Purdue built my self-confidence. When you meet with and learn from the best, you strive to reach their standards.” On his favorite honor: “Being honored by my alma mater is my proudest accomplishment. The one area I enjoy the most is working with students, and going through graduate school helped me a great deal in working with and mentoring students. Some people just talk and give out information. Others, like myself, like to see people learn and enjoy the process. I never tire of the thrill of working with students.” On his biggest professional challenge: “Growing up seven miles outside of New York City, I didn’t know much about agriculture. It took me about a semester to spell and say ‘horticulture,’ and to begin to develop a sincere appreciation for agriculture. But I’ve seen a lot of changes since the mid ‘60s, and my biggest concern is the seeming lack of public concern and awareness of the world’s food supply. We’re gambling with a lot of our best production areas, and many are covered up with cement and condominiums. “I’m trying to bring science to the forefront that will help us solve future problems. For instance, methods of protected agriculture are beginning to allow us to use marginal lands for production of high-value crops. In northern Florida, for instance, areas that traditionally were not used for winter production are now producing raspberries, peaches, blueberries, and practically any kind of vegetable. We’re in the process of converting large-acre farming interests into small greenhouse or tunnel operations. This whole area of protected agriculture will continue to explode.” On his personal credo: “Get a good education, and work hard while you’re young. Don’t expect to get something for nothing. Worry about what you need to succeed, not about what others have.” Highlights/Cantliffe Education B.S., Delaware Valley College, 1965 M.S., Horticulture, Purdue University, 1967 Ph.D., Plant Physiology, Purdue University, 1971 Career 1974-present University of Florida, Gainesville Chairman, Horticultural Sciences Department Professor, Fruit Crops Department Professor, Vegetable Crops Department Honors and Associations Member, American Society for Horticultural Science Member, American Society of Plant Physiologists Member, American Society of Agronomy Professorial Excellence Program Award, University of Florida, 1996 United States Department of Agriculture Group Honor Award for Excellence, 1997 Outstanding Researcher Award, 1997, American Society for Horticultural Science Family Dr. Cantliffe and his wife, Elizabeth, are parents of four daughters, and grandparents to four granddaughters. Their oldest child, Christine, is a nurse; Deanna, a schoolteacher, was born in Lafayette; Danielle, a recreational therapist, was named for her father; and youngest daughter Cheri is a schoolteacher in Davenport, Iowa. Display quote/Cantliffe “Growing up seven miles outside of New York City, I didn’t know much about agriculture. It took me about a semester to spell and say ‘horticulture,’ and to begin to develop a sincere appreciation for agriculture.”