Faculty, Friends Celebrate McCord's Career

Friends, colleagues and students packed College Hall on October 8 to pay tribute to biology professor Elzie McCord, who recently retired after nearly 14 years at New College of Florida.
“I’m near speechless,” he told the gathering. “And that’s kind of rare for me. I’m overwhelmed.”
McCord has been New College’s resident insect expert since he joined the faculty in 2001. He arrived after a 25-year career with DuPont Agricultural Products, serving as senior research biologist and senior research chemist.
He received his doctorate from University of Florida and his research interests have included insecticide resistance mechanisms in insects, plant allelopathy, and the effects of plant allelochemicals on non-target hosts.
McCord said he’ll still continue doing research, now on the tardigrade, a microscopic animal often called a “waterbear.” He talked about his research to a few of the guests, showing them photos of the creature on his smartphone.
The creatures are masters of survival, he explained, able to withstand extreme temperatures and radiation, as well as the vacuum of space. The can survive without water for years, “shriveling up … and then rehydrating and coming back to life,” he said.
Even though he’s officially retired, New College’s newest professor emeritus says he’ll still be on campus occasionally, mentoring students and, perhaps, teaching a botany class.
McCord accepted gifts and praise from his fellow educators. “You have been a great friend and a wonderful colleague. Thank you for everything you’ve shared with this campus,” said Maribeth Clark, assistant professor of music.
“I’m greatly honored that so many of you came out,” McCord said. “I love you guys. I miss being here. I miss you guys, the camaraderie, the research… well, I can’t say meetings, though.”
He did promise to stay in touch. “I’m going to be around, so give me a call,” he told his friends.

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