Dr. William Grierson (1917-2011)
University of Florida Citrus Research and Education Center
Florida Southern College
U.S. Aide Project
Packing Line Machinery
Grapefruit Chilling Research
Florida Citrus Packers
William Grierson was born on December 15, 1917, in Ontario, Canada. Grierson attended the University of Toronto where he obtained a B.S. in Biological and Agricultural Sciences and his M.S. and Ph.D. in Agricultural Science. Grierson worked in the agricultural industry in Canada until the outbreak of World War Two. Grierson served as a navigator in the Royal Canadian Air Force, and was awarded the Distinguished Flying Cross and the Air Force Cross. After the war he accepted a position at the University of Florida’s Citrus Research and Education Center in Lake Alfred, Florida. Beginning in 1952 Grierson served the University of Florida’s Citrus Research and Education Center for thirty years. He also taught evening classes at Florida Southern College in the 1950s and 1960s. Dr. Grierson officially retired at the end of 1982. Following his retirement, Grierson and his wife left Florida to participate in a two-year U.S. Aide Project to assist in the domestic distribution and marketing of food in Jamaica. While in Jamaica, Grierson was the project leader for fruits and vegetables.
William Grierson was an innovator in fresh citrus fruit research and harvesting. His contributions to the Florida citrus industry include, but are not limited to, designing the modern degreening room which became standard throughout Florida and the transition to and standardization of pallet boxes. He also developed packing line machinery modifications that resulted in maximum packing line efficiency. Grierson’s research identified the correlation between grapefruit chilling injury to fruit maturity, diagnosed several physiological disorders that plagued citrus fruit, and aided in the clearance of post-harvest fungicides in the United States and around the world. In 1965, Grierson wrote a letter to citrus packers, the first Packinghouse Newsletter, which became standard procedure thereafter. Grierson is also credited with helping to establish the group known as the Florida Citrus Packers and was well-known for educating consumers on the use of pesticides and cosmetic treatments. Grierson published many scholarly journal articles and papers and is recognized for his work worldwide.
Because of his dedication to citrus research and education, as well as his numerous scholarly accomplishments, Grierson was awarded the title of Professor Emeritus by the University of Florida. Although he is officially retired, Grierson continues to publish articles regarding the citrus industry as well as the effect of global warming and climate change. Dr. William Grierson was inducted into the Florida Citrus Hall of Fame in 1995.