Adel Kader, loving husband, father and grandfather, leaves behind his wife Aileen, daughter Soad, son Sami, daughter-in-law Shantel, and grandchildren Dominic and Alexandra. His love will be with us forever and his memory will live on in our hearts.
His life's work was the study of the post-harvest physiology of fresh produce. The following rememberence was written by one of his many colleagues:
In Memory of Professor Adel A. Kader
Professor Adel Kader is among the most widely known and recognized scientists worldwide in the field of postharvest biology and technology. He is the embodiment of a successful scientist, mentor and citizen of the world. Few people have had a greater impact on a field of scientific study as has Professor Kader on the discipline of postharvest biology and technology. He has used his unique stature and abilities to promote an appreciation for the importance of proper postharvest handling of fruits and vegetables among the agricultural community and society at large that has hadimmeasurable benefits for the health and well-being of people everywhere that consume these foods.
Professor Kader's career is a wonderful example of service, not only to the University of California, but to the international community. Through his numerous publications and students and most importantly his leadership and immense support to the industry, Professor Kader has influenced an entire generation of researchers, teachers, and extension, industry and government personnel. Apart from this tangible evidence of his long and illustrious career, is the important intangible influence he has had on shaping the focus and direction of postharvest research and extension activities worldwide.
During his more than 35 years at the University of California, Davis, Professor Kader maintained an extremely active teaching, research and extension program in postharvest biology and technology. His prodigious output includes over 230 technical manuscripts, many book chapters, and numerous extension publications. His research efforts were initially focused on improving the more obvious aspects of postharvest quality of fruits and vegetables. He has worked with a large number of fruits and vegetables during his career in his endeavor to elucidate the physiological and biochemical bases for quality maintenance. His papers have been milestones for others to follow. Over time he became increasingly interested in the less obvious characteristics of flavor and nutritional quality. He realized that an improvement in human diets through the consumption of more fruits and vegetables would only occur when the appearance quality of fruits and vegetables was matched by an increase in their flavor and nutritive quality. He became a vocal proponent of coupling the traditional studies for improved appearance quality with studies of flavor and nutritional quality changes during harvest, storage, transport and marketing. All this because he recognized the importance of bringing to the end user a product that not only looks great but tastes wonderful and is at its optimal nutritive value.
Professor Kader's distinguishing characteristics include an amazing capacity to assimilate and organize information. He is universally recognized as among the most knowledgeable scientists in his field. However, he is as also widely known for freely sharing his knowledge and experience with both the scientific community and the public.
Few individuals, if any, can match the standard set by Professor Kader during his tenure as a mentor. He not only preached, but practiced what he preached, with regard to research integrity and reaching for the highest standards possible with regard to publications and outreach activities. He always has demanded the highest performance from all colleagues whether at UC Davis or elsewhere. He took his responsibilities as a mentor very seriously. One of Professor Kader's most longstanding and sincerely held beliefs is that students should be encouraged and given the means to attend scientific meetings as a way of inspiring them in their developing careers. He provided funding for innumerable students to travel to professional meetings and advocated for meeting funds to be allocated to support travel by other students, thus providing the framework for the individual student to establish networking skills with other scholars. During his years at UC Davis, he had a constant stream of international visitors. He fostered an interactive environment for students and visiting scientists, helping students to further develop networking skills and perhaps more importantly expanding their vision beyond the boundaries of UC Davis.
Professor Kader's in-depth knowledge of all things "Postharvest" is a challenge in itself to anyone discussing topics of mutual interest. He has challenged not only his students and visiting scientists, but also the larger worldwide postharvest community, to question research results and to resolve the seemingly unsolvable questions that inevitably arise from research. He instilled a "desire to learn" in his students. The positive aspect of this "challenging" environment was the intellectual growth that occurred, because he nurtured this growth by positive feedback, thoughtful comments, and critiques.
Professor Kader's commitment to continuing education outside of the classroom and student mentoring is exemplified by his participation in the very famous annual two-week Postharvest Technology Short Course, which he was instrumental in co-organizing in 1979 and which has been attended by over 2,500 people over the last 34 years from almost every country of the world. Never one to rest on his laurels, Professor Kader launched the Postharvest Technology Research and Information Center Internet site (http://postharvest.ucdavis.edu/) in 1998; which has become the premier source of postharvest information worldwide.
Professor Kader was born in Cairo, Egypt. He received his B.Sc. in Horticulture from the Faculty of Agriculture at Ain Shams University in Cairo in 1959 at the age of 18. It is interesting to know that he started as a medical student, but at 14 years of age he was afraid of the scenes of human organs and blood and that is why he decided to transfer to the faculty of agriculture. After obtaining his B.Sc. from Ain Shams he moved to the University of California, at Davis where he received his M.Sc. in Vegetable Crops in 1962 and his Ph.D. in Plant Physiology in 1966 at the age of 25. After earning his doctorate, Professor Kader returned to Egypt where he held the position of Assistant Professor in the Faculty of Agriculture at Ain Shams University from 1966 to 1971. While there he was engaged in teaching and research on postharvest horticulture, and co-authored a classic postharvest textbook in Arabic. He then became a lecturer and consultant in the Kuwait Institute for Scientific Research from 1971 to 1972, before returning to UC Davis in 1972, first as an Assistant Researcher, and later as an Assistant, Associate, and full Professor until his retirement in 2007. He held the title of Emeritus Professor. During his tenure at UC Davis he served as Chairman of the Department of Pomology and received numerous awards. A listing of just a few of them will illustrate the breadth of his accomplishments. He was elected a Fellow of the American Society for Horticultural Sciences in 1986 later serving as President-elect (in 1994-95, President in 1995-96, and Chairman of the Board of Directors in 1996-97. He received from UC Davis the Outstanding Teaching Award in Extension in 1989, the Award of Distinction from the College of Agricultural and Environmental Sciences in 2000, the Alumni Citation of Excellence from the Cal Aggie Alumni Association also in 2000, and the Academic Senate's Distinguished Graduate Mentoring Award in 2003. He was also selected as the Outstanding Horticulturist of 1997 by the Horticultural Research Center at Laval University, Quebec, Canada. In 2012, during an international postharvest gathering, he was honored by the Government of Malyasia for his outstanding contributions to postharvest science, education and extension.
Professor Kader served for 18 years on the selected group of the Scientific Advisory Council of the World Foods Logistics Organization, where he was extremely active in supporting the industry all over the world on a voluntary basis.
After retirement Professor Kader maintained a very active interest in postharvest programs worldwide and frequently participated in seminars at UC Davis and many international meetings, chaired the California Citrus Quality Council, and continued to do some consulting to raise funds for the UC Davis Postharvest Endowment.
Professor Kader has been instrumental in providing anyone who had the privilege of working with him the necessary basic tools to conduct oneself in the scientific community and become a contributor to our body of knowledge of plant science. He also has provided all of us in horticulture, and postharvest biology in particular, something more important, and that is reinforcement of a personal code of ethics that is so crucial for being a member of the human race. His high level of professional conduct, the care he took in mentoring his students and his humble approach to life is what has enabled him to have such an impact, not only on the world of postharvest biology, but the world in general; and that is a great achievement.
He will be missed. Rest in peace.
Written by Dr. Elhadi Yahia Kazuz