If not for Professor Gary Kling and that thick Rolodex of his, who knows what Paul Cappiello’s resume would read like these days?
Odds are, it wouldn't might not be topped off with the title ‘Executive Director, Yew Dell Botanical Gardens’ without the huge assist Cappiello got from his favorite UI faculty member — and remains grateful for, three decades later.
“I was very fortunate to have Gary as my graduate advisor for my master’s and Ph.D. programs in the mid 1980s,” Cappiello says. “He was a dedicated mentor and talented teacher, now with a very long list of advisees who are in leadership positions in all sectors of the plant industry and academia.
“Incidentally, I just learned that Gary retired at the end of 2018 — a major loss for horticulture students and the U. He always created opportunities for me to meet and connect with industry leaders, leading academics, etc., to make sure that when I finished my time at U of I, I would have a long list of professional contacts to draw on as I started on my own academic career.
“Indeed, I am living and working in Louisville, Kentucky primarily due to contacts Gary helped me develop here when I was a grad student. He is a gem and will be sorely missed at the University."