Joe Vargas

Remembering Dr. Joseph Vargas

Joseph Vargas, Ph.D., a distinguished plant pathology and turfgrass management professor in the Department of Plant, Soil and Microbial Sciences at Michigan State University, passed away on April 18. He was 82.

An internationally renowned researcher and scholar, Vargas joined the faculty at MSU in 1968. During his 56-year career he improved the quality of turfgrass on six continents and inspired generations of leaders in the field of turfgrass management.

“To put it simply, Joe was one of a kind,” said Brian Horgan, Ph.D., professor and chairperson, Department of Plant, Soil and Microbial Sciences. “There are just not enough words to describe the incredible influence he had on all that were lucky to know and work with him. His teaching, research and extension work benefited partners across the state of Michigan and around the world. He will be remembered for his energy, his exceptional scholarship, his vibrant sense of humor, humility and friendship.”

“Joe’s remarkable life embodied the true spirit of a Spartan,” said College of Agriculture and Natural Resources Dean Kelly Millenbah, Ph.D. “The CANR community joins with all those who knew and loved Joe to celebrate his many accomplishments and honor his extraordinary legacy. His pioneering work made an impact across the globe, particularly in the golf industry, where his outreach and engagement proved vital for so many over the years. My heart goes out to Joe’s wife MaryAnn and the entire Vargas family during this difficult time.”

Read the full article by Alex Dardas at