DAAS Honours DR. Clayton Arthur SHILLINGFORD, PH.D.

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A leader in international banana research; co-founder, and for several years President, of the Association for Cooperation in Banana Research in the Caribbean and Tropical America (ACORBAT), Clayton Arthur Shillingford was born in Roseau, Dominica on April 25, 1936 to Gladys Phillip and Heskeith Shillingford.

From an early age Clayton demonstrated a marked aptitude for the academic and for leadership. He attended the Roseau Mixed School, winning a scholarship to the Dominica Grammar School (DGS). There he excelled both in academics and in sports. He was Victor Ludorum (Winner of the Games) at the 1955 DGS athletic meet, and was captain of the school cricket team. Subsequently, he played cricket for the national team in two Windward Islands tournaments. In academics, he passed with honors both the Cambridge School Certificate (First Grade) and Higher School Certificate, and won a scholarship to study science and mathematics at the University of the West Indies (UWI) in Jamaica, from which he graduated with honors in 1962.

Clayton then returned home to be senior science master and sports master at the Dominica Grammar School. He was a conscientious, inspiring and demanding teacher, forever exhorting his students to excellence, several of whom went on to distinguished careers in various fields. Also under Clayton's leadership, the Grammar School became a force in soccer and cricket, with many team members going on to represent Dominica in regional and international sporting events. Subsequently, Clayton moved to Jamaica in 1967 as Plant Pathologist at the Jamaica Banana Board, achieving the position of Director of Research and Development in 1977 after completing his PhD in Plant Pathology at the University of Illinois in Urbana - where he had received a research assistantship and a Visiting Professorship. Before this, Clayton completed a Masters in Botany and Forest Ecology and a Diploma in Management, both at UWI, and another Masters in Mycology and Plant Pathology at the University of London, England. In 1979, Clayton resigned from the Jamaica Banana Board and moved to the US.

In 1980, Dr. Shillingford joined the DuPont Corporation of Wilmington, DE as Manager of Product Development for Latin American and the Caribbean. Under DuPont sponsorship, Dr. Shillingford was also an adviser on banana disease control to governments and businesses in L. America, Africa, and Asia; and he was president of the DuPont Black Employees Network. He received numerous DuPont awards for his contributions to product development, quality assurance, marketing and staff diversity development. Apart from his DuPont responsibilities, Dr. Shillingford organized and led several international conferences on plant pathology, including those of the International Congress of Plant Pathology, the American Phytopathological Society, and the Organization of Tropical American Nematologists. Dr. Shillingford has been a prolific contributor to the field of banana pests and disease and their control, publishing some 34 technical papers on the subject, several with path-breaking scientific significance. He retired in 1998 as Research Associate for Product Support and Renewal, DuPont Agricultural Products.

Dr. Shillingford is an active member of several scientific societies. He takes a keen interest in Caribbean economic, social and political affairs, and for a time led the South Florida Association of Dominicans. In addition, till 2010, he was for several years president of the Dominica Academy of Arts and Sciences (DAAS), a volunteer organization seeking to mobilize Dominican Diaspora professionals to provide intellectual, technical and material aid for Dominican development. He is a trustee of the All Saints Medical School in Dominica.

Dr. Shillingford is married to Margaret Shillingford nee Kowalski of Wilmington, DE. He has two children, Ray and Gillian, by his first wife Yvonne Johnson of Jamaica. He lives in Dominica and the USA.

For his sterling contribution to plant pathology worldwide and to the West Indian banana industry, and for his dedication to Dominican development, DAAS honors Dr. Clayton Arthur Shillingford, Ph.D.

Contributed by:
Davison Shillingford
October 2011


Last Updated on Tuesday, 18 October 2011 12:10

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