About this Endowment
During his lifetime, Dr. David J. Klingener (1937-1995) was an ardent spokesperson for the scientific study of biological diversity. The mammal collection that he built and curated was central to his teaching and research activities at the University. As Curator of Mammals and Director of Zoological Collections Dave increased the University’s holdings in mammalian species, particularly bats and rodents from the Neotropics and Caribbean. In his care, the mammal collection grew to become an important teaching resource, with specimens representing most of the living orders and families of mammals. Skeletons and dissection specimens, which are nontraditional materials for most university zoological collections, were at the core of Dave Klingener’s effort to increase the value of the University’s holdings, for these materials are essential to analyses of vertebrate evolution.
For thirty years Dave Klingener taught comparative anatomy, one of the most challenging courses required of vertebrate biologists. Under his direction, comparative anatomy became one of the best remembered experiences of many of the University’s undergraduates, and for this he was honored in 1974 with the University’s Distinguished Teaching Award. Dave trained two generations of graduate students in mammalogy and inspired many others to study the evolution and diversification of life. He also mentored several junior faculty members, inspiring them to perpetuate his commitment to the zoological collections.
Through his contributions to the Museum Service Fund, Dave Klingener established the only dedicated budget for the care and enhancement of the zoological collections at the time. That fund has evolved into the present Natural History Collections Gift Fund.