Ke Yang

Graeme was my advisor in Yale FES from 2011 to 2013. I remember most his patience and humor and how he made Greeley Lab feel like a second home. I remember his lectures, his ability to talk with students, his particular taste for coffee. Even the times when he prepared a delicious treat for his dog, Neo. I remember him always inquiring about his students, curious of their whereabouts with the love and care of a doting grandfather.
I had the pleasure to be able to visit with him again in 2017 after moving states.
At the end of our conversation, I asked him, “…in the past half a century of teaching, what did you value most here at Yale?
He replied simply: “My students.”

Professor Graeme, you’ll be missed dearly.

Jane Whitehill, MFS 1994

Plant physiology, microscopy, family, politics, repartee, kindness, generosity, dogs, specimen preparation, how to treat colleagues and students. I haven’t come to school reunions just to see Graeme, but I never went to a reunion without seeing him. Thank you, Graeme. Love to your family. and to you. Always, Jane.

Lucien A. Bouffard

I was close with Graeme since 2001. I was his student in 2009-2011. I met with him every fall and spring to share goals and celebrate successes. No one else had a greater impact on the trajectory of my life and work. He gifted me with a model of teaching. I will miss him dearly. My condolences to Mary, Dina and Family. In memoria aeterna.

Acheampong Atta-Boateng

During my first week at YSE, I wanted to be sure about my career path, as the school had so much to offer. So, I asked Graeme what he would do differently if he went back 40yrs in time. His response was; “same as I’m doing”. First, it seemed daunting, but his response inspired me to follow my passion, and like him, caring for plants. Twelve years later, I’m still dedicated to his legacy in Africa.

To me, Dr. Berlyn was the greatest scholar of our time. In his later years, he dedicated his time to a problem too priceless to place a value on, e.i.– how to sustain food production under climate shocks. As climate warming outpaces plant evolution in the Anthropocene, optimal photosynthesis will decline and fail for all plants when the rising atmospheric temperature causes a high critical leaf temperature that will impair the ability of plant leaves to function in all the ways they do. For the first time at UNFCCC COP28, food production is among the top three agenda. Graeme was ahead of his time, invented and coined the term “Biostimulants”, now a $3.5 Billion market with a $10 Billion global projection by 2030. Graeme is the father of biological crop amendments, and among an elite class of scientists whose scholarly works carved both an entire field and industry. Today, ‘n-hB’ offers the best non-genetic, environmentally friendly solution to moderate climate shocks in crops, the single largest threat to global food security.

I’ll miss our daily afternoon chats over tea and Ivy basketball games with Mary. One day at our regular sushi place, I asked if I could pay this time. He responded; “Acheampong, you get to pay when you make your first million”. Me? I laughed! Seriously, no one believed in me and saw through me as he did. He never gave up on me. He helped me to rediscover myself and my purpose and remained my mentor even through my doctoral studies at Oxford and later, our shared interest in food insecurity in Africa.

Well, life took a turn, so I decided to visit, catch up and together, have tea from the Kericho highland farms in Kenya, but this time, pay for our sushi lunch. It was onboard Amtrak from Boston to New Haven, that I received email of his passing. Although we missed each other by a day, I believe that my ancestors in Africa, and the ancestors of many peoples, await him with open arms in Heaven. And that the humanitarian work he began, shall surely cross the finish line.

Dr. Berlyn, you were a teacher, mentor, protector, and a true friend to me. May you rest in eternal peace!

Sharon Friedman

When I started at Yale Forestry in the mid-70’s, women were fairly rare. And yet, I always felt 100% support in my work and my life from Graeme (or Dr. Berlyn, as we called him then). I spent many hours doing tissue culture and other studies in his lab. I learned, both from his words and actions, not only what it takes to be a scientist, but also to be a mensch. May his memory be a blessing, as indeed his life was, to so many of us.

Sarah Barbo Nielsen

Hello – it is impossible to fully grasp the impact Professor Berlyn had at FES in his long, long tenure. What a gift we were all given to study with and learn from him, and be inspired by his dedication. Thank you, Professor Berlyn. Rest in peace.

Dylan Craven

My deepest condolences to Mary and Dina. He was like a second father to me during my graduate studies, and I remain deeply appreciative of his guidance (professional and personal) over the years.

Steven A Harrington

Dr. Berlyn was one of my favorite professors – kind, engaging, patient, and his enthusiasm for his research and sharing knowledge was inspirational. Loved traveling with him in British Columbia. He be missed among his fellow humans but continue as a model for those training people to pursue scientific knowledge!

Evan Griswold

My deep sympathy to Graeme’s family and closest friends and associates. Professor Berlin was an inspiration to us all in the early days of environmental knowledge gathering and deep scholarship. I feel honoured to have known and learned from him.

Helga Rodriguez von Platen

My thoughts and prayers are with Prof. Berlyn’s family and Yale Forestry Community. I think the whole planet has lost a wonderful teacher, a fantastic human being and a person who inspired students in various universal matters. I used to describe and compare him with Alexander von Humbold, when asked me who was your main advisor. I feel deeply sad with this news and I know I don’t have words that can describe the internal personal lost I feel. Graeme, always was a persona that knew something in all areas of the Biology, Physiology, Forestry, Geology, etc. His smile and jokes in class were classic, elegant, and really funny. He helped me during my years at Yale and provided me academic and personal support. I will never forget neither his lectures nor his warm soul.

Iliana Ayala

Professor Berlyn,
Last time I saw you 12 years ago in your lab, you received me with your beautiful smile as the first time that we met in 1994.

I am very grateful for the opportunity you gave me and Professor Ashton to be part of your team by working in a project that had brought so much joy in my life.

Your dedication with your students and career is very well recognized by all of your students.

I am very thankful of the short time that we spent together (2 years). However, 2 years transcends to more than 1000 years since you have had a big impact on each of us and the environment. I wouldn’t be writing this note if you wouldn’t have been part of me journey. Your knowledge will keep guiding us as you have done it when you were among us.

Patrick Hook

Graeme opened up a world for me that I had not previously known, and I still think about many of the concepts he taught me as I explore nature. I’ll never forget the overhead projector and the slides, tools of a bygone era but still so effective at imparting knowledge and ideas. Finally, Graeme and I shared a personal connection through our mutual love of jazz. He was one of my favorite professors at Yale and I’ll miss him.

Bethany Zemba

I worked with Graeme as a staff member from 2004 to 2016. He always had an interesting fact and smile to share. Kind spirit who loved and dedicated his life to his research, his students, and F&ES. We are all blessed to have known him. May he rest in peace.

John Aber

Graeme was such a solid and supportive presence for so many years. It is astounding to think how many students he helped launch on their careers. I did not get to work with him directly but always enjoyed seeing him again and sharing thoughts and memories. He will be missed by so many!

Ziyan Chu

So sorry to hear this sad news. I always remember the days I sit in your class, worked in your lab and took care of all the plants in the greenhouse. You were a professor, mentor and guide for my study in the US. My thoughts are with you. RIP.

Andrew Salvador Mathews

I knew Graeme Berlyn when I was a junior Ph.D. student who was hesitating between ecology and environmental anthropology, and would visit with him often in his lab. He had an amazing appreciation for the history of science, appeared in the stories he told and in his lectures on plant physiology. I remember his great kindness, the friendly and supportive laboratory culture he created, and his deep understanding of the history of his various fields.

Kaisone Phengsopha

I would like to extend my heartfelt condolences for the loss of Professor Graeme Berlyn. My thoughts are with the family during this challenging time. The passing of Professor Graeme Berlyn weighs heavily on my heart and I wish to express my sincere sympathy to the family.

Al Sample

Sad indeed to know that YSE students in the future will not benefit from Professor Berlyn’s wisdom and experience as we did. But my goodness what a life well-lived in the service of Yale, its students, and our collective knowledge of the natural world.

Deane Wang

Graeme was on my doctoral committee and he grilled me on my oral comprehensive exam. Always insightful and deliberate, his questions and comments contributed greatly to my education. He was also a resource on staying fit, and I can still see him smiling as he worked out in the cold room — turned Greeley gym. He was a special and exemplary part of the YF&ES graduate experience that has helped guide so many educators and practitioners across the globe. He has left a lasting legacy.

Hank Margolis

Graeme Berlyn had a very large and very positive influence on my life and career. As a brand new MF student at the YSFES in 1980, he was the person who initially sparked and developed my lifelong interest in forest and tree physiology. I spent countless hours in his Greeley Lab, learning how the lab worked and benefitting from his warm welcoming presence during the workday, evening, and weekends. He was kind, funny, and wise. I will remember him very fondly.

Marlyse Duguid

I am so sorry to hear that Graeme passed. Graeme served on my dissertation committee and has been a colleague at YSE since I started on the faculty. What I will always remember most is his laughter and smile and his ability to find an amusing anecdote for really any situation imaginable. Marsh and Greeley will be a lot less bright without him around. May his memory be a blessing.