Winship Herr on Trustees Meeting 1995: Suggesting a Graduate School at CSHL
  Winship Herr     Biography    
Recorded: 09 Jul 2004

The event that is stuck in my mind very clearly was the last time that it was suggested and resulted in the Watson School. That was at a Trustees Meeting, at their November meeting in 1995, where Jim Watson was beginning to think about the new millennium. He presented his vision 2000; his view of what the lab should do by the next millennium.

And among the four things, which were to build neurobiology, better housing, [and] biotechnology, was a graduate school. It was, I think driven by a number of issues that came together at just the right time. One was, in fact, political which was that the lab had just been through a rather protracted and unhappy interaction with the Village of Laurel Hollow over having a daycare center. During those discussions, and there were changes in the zoning of the lab, the town would not acknowledge that Cold Spring Harbor was an educational institution even though it was chartered by the New York State Department of Education and the Board of the Regents, etc. since the early ‘60s for what it did in education and post graduate courses for scientists around the world.

They always said, well, you don’t grant degrees. How can you be an educational institutional if you don’t grant degrees. So I think there was an element of, well, maybe we should grant degrees.

We had many graduate students. At the time in 1995, we probably had 40 graduate students here, almost all of them from Stony Brook.

Winship Herr, director of the University of Lausanne School of Biology and member of EMBO. He earned his Bachelor of Arts degree at the University of California in 1974 and Ph.D. for studies on recombinant retroviruses in leukemogenic mice with Walter Gilbert from Harvard University in 1982. He completed his postdoctoral research studies in Cambridge (England) with Frederick Sanger and with Joe Sambrook in Cold Spring Harbor. After that he joined the Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory faculty in 1984. From 1994 till 2002 he was an assistant director of the Laboratory and founding dean of the Watson School of Biological Sciences from 1998 till 2004. He is a professor of the Center for Integrative Genomics at the University of Lausanne.

Winship Herr is a former National Science Foundation predoctoral fellow, Rita Allen Foundation Scholar, Helen Hay Whitney postdoctoral fellow, and Lita Annenberg Hazen Professor of Biological Sciences.

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