Oklahoma State University Professor Dr. William Raun, a key member of the development team that created the GreenSeeker sensor and world-renowned contributor to the understanding of nitrogen efficiency, passed away on July 25 at age 64.
Raun was born into a farm family in Nebraska, but had the opportunity to develop a love and appreciation for international agriculture when his parents moved the family to Latin America in his early life. He returned to the US to complete high school and attend college, earning his PhD in Agronomy from the University of Nebraska-Lincoln in 1985. From 1985-1991, he worked with the International Maize and Wheat Improvement Center (CIMMYT) as a regional maize agronomist to nine Central American countries.
Raun joined Oklahoma State University in 1991, and focused research on nitrogen use efficiency in cereal crops. Early on, he collaborated with mechanical and electrical engineers to develop technology-based solutions for managing nitrogen. As part of a team of scientists at OSU, Raun’s work led to the development and eventual commercialization of the GreenSeeker nitrogen sensor.
Beyond technology, Raun was passionate about nurturing and developing young talent at the university. He served as a major advisor for 103 graduate degrees conferred to 84 students, 47 of whom came from the developing world.