This fund was established in 1990 by David L. Dilcher and Herman F. Becker to support paleobotany at the Florida Museum of Natural History including library maintenance, graduate and undergraduate students working in paleobotany, field work and general needs.
David L. Dilcher was born July 10, 1936. He earned his bachelor's and master's degrees from the University of Minnesota. In 1964, he graduated from Yale University with a doctorate. He went on to become a graduate research professor at the University of Florida. As a paleobotanist, Dilcher's goal was to find the world's first flower. He studied fossils for evidence of the flowering plant ancestry and to track plant evolution. Dilcher discovered a 100-million-year-old Rose Creek flower as well as a 140-million-year-old plant in China. Dilcher is a member of the National Academy of Sciences and is a retired graduate research professor from the Florida Museum of Natural History.
Herman F. Becker was born January 10, 1907, in Dusseldorf, Germany. While studying botany in Berlin at the Botanical Gardens, Becker met his wife, Ruth, and they were married in Frankfurt in 1928. In 1930, the couple moved to New York. He earned a bachelor's degree from Brooklyn College in 1947 and a master's degree from Columbia University in 1952. Becker worked at the New York Botanical Garden from 1958-74 and served as Curator of Paleobotany from 1965. He received many honors during his lifetime. He was a member of the American Society of Plant Taxonomists, the Cactus and Succulent Society of America and the New York Academy of Sciences. Becker served as a fellow of the Geological Society of America and as president and vice-president of the Torrey Botanical Club. He received a Distinguished Service Award in 1977 from the Botanical Society of America and a Distinguished Achievement Award in 1981 from the Brooklyn College Alumni Association. In 1985, a symposium was held in his honor entitled "Evolution of the Modern Vegetation of the Northern Rocky Mountains. The symposium was jointly held by the Botanical Society of America and the American Association for the Advancement of Science. Herman passed away in June of 1985.