Lansing Williams had a distinguished career in plant pathology. He received a BS from Morris Harvey College (now the University of Charleston), served in the Marine Corps from 1942-1946, and earned his MS and PhD from Ohio State.
Williams was subsequently hired by the Department of Botany and Plant Pathology at OARDC in Wooster in 1954 (then named the Ohio Agricultural Experiment Station), His research focused on diseases of corn and other cereals (photo, far right). From 1968 until his retirement in 1988, he served as associate chair.
Lansing's early work included research on management treatments for Stewart's wilt of sweet corn, stalk and root rots of corn, and collaborative work on soil fungi with with Fritz Schmitthenner. In the 1960s, Williams and L. J. Alexander isolated and named the cause of a severe corn disease, maize dwarf mosaic virus (MDMV). He worked with several colleagues to study the biology of the MDMV and develop MDMV-resistant corn lines. Over the years, he also conducted research on wheat streak mosaic virus on corn (late 1960s), a swine feeding problem associated with a mycotoxin (late 1960s-early 1970s), a southern corn leaf blight epidemic (1968-1970), and other virus diseases of cereal grains.
From 1968-1971, Williams chaired the committee that led to the construction of Selby Hall (current home of the Department of Plant Pathology in Wooster). Williams served as secretary-treasurer, vice-president and president of the North Central Division of the American Phytopathological Society.
After his retirement, he spent several years researching the history of the department and wrote, "A History of the Department of Plant Pathology - The Ohio State University" with C. Wayne Ellett. The book continues to serve as an important historical account of the department.