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James E. Ackert

James AckertResearcher in parasitology, educator. Born: August 31, 1879, Woosong, Illinois. Died: June 18, 1969, Manhattan, Kansas.

James Edward Ackert performed some of the first controlled parasitology experiments in America. He gained national prominence in his field as professor of zoology at Kansas State University, where he served from 1913 until his retirement in 1950.

Ackert was born August 31, 1879 at Woosung, Illinois, son of Abram and Eva Wilder Ackert. Upon his graduation from Northern Illinois State Normal School in 1903 he attended the University of Illinois. There he received his bachelor's degree in 1909, his master's degree in 1911, and doctoral degree in 1913. Ackert joined the Kansas State University faculty in 1913 to teach zoology and parasitology, and on August 15, 1914 he married Florence M. Tanner of Aurora, Illinois.

By 1931 Dr. Ackert had been named the first dean of the graduate school, but his real claim to fame was his research and writing. At the time of his death in 1969, he could boast a list of 164 professional publications. As a researcher he carried out some of the first controlled experiments in America and virtually developed the field of experimental parasitology. His work on Vitamin A deficiency was important to human as well as animal health. He served on a Rockefeller team that developed a worldwide method of hookworm control.

In 1927 Ackert served as speaker on helminthology at the Third World's Poultry Congress in Ottawa, Canada. He was a delegate at the fourth congress in 1930 in London. Ackert was a student at Molteno Institute of Parasitology from 1930 to 1931 at Cambridge University. He served as president of the American Society of Parasitologists, American Microscopical Society, and Kansas Academy of Sciences. He was honored with his alma mater's distinguished alumnus award and received K-State's distinguished service award.

Dr. Ackert took up golf at the age of 50 and became a familiar figure on the Manhattan golf courses well into his 80s. With the help of his wife, Florence, he wrote a college loyalty song that was used from 1915-1930. Ackert retired from K-State in 1950 but continued to serve as visiting professor at Sao Paulo University and the University of Brazil as well as the University of Chile at Santiago.  A laboratory at the veterinary school Sao Paulo University is named for him. Ackert died on June 18, 1969.

Entry: Ackert, James E.

Author: Kansas Historical Society

Author information: The Kansas Historical Society is a state agency charged with actively safeguarding and sharing the state's history.

Date Created: November 2004

Date Modified: January 2013

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