William T. Keeton
February 3, 1933-August 17, 1980
William T. Keeton was a beloved professor, known for his enthusiasm for research and passionate teaching style.
Because of its popularity on campus, his introductory biology class became known simply as "the Keeton course." His lectures for this course were often standing-room only, with students flowing into the hallway to hear his spellbinding presentations.
In 1967, he wrote the textbook Biological Science, which introduced thousands to an integrated view of biology that used evolution as a unifying theme. This book influenced untold numbers to take up the profession of biology.
He was an international leader in studies of animal orientation and navigation, and his laboratory and the Cornell pigeon lofts attracted visiting students and scholars from around the world. His lifelong enthusiasm for pigeons led to his groundbreaking research on how homing pigeons find their way home. This research set the standard for the field and influenced generations of behavioral biologists.