Margaret Meg Stewart
NEW SCOTLAND Dr. Margaret Meg Stewart, distinguished teaching professor Emerita at the University at Albany, passed away peacefully at her home on Beaver Dam Road on August 2, 2006, after a long battle with pancreatic cancer. Margaret McBride Stewart was born on the family farm in Guilford County, N.C., on February 6, 1927 to Mary Ellen (Morrow) and David Henry Stewart. Her parents, as well as her sister, Josephine Starbuck of Newton, Mass., predeceased her. Survivors include her husband, George E. Martin, mathematics professor emeritus at the University at Albany; and her brother, John M. Stewart, a renowned peptide chemist at the University of Colorado Medical School in Denver; as well as two nieces and two nephews. Meg graduated from Woman's College of the University of North Carolina (now UNC-Greensboro). After a master's degree at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, she came north to work on a doctorate at Cornell University. In the fall of 1956, with a Cornell Ph. D. in hand, Dr. Stewart joined the biology faculty at the New York State College for Teachers at Albany (later called SUNY at Albany and now UAlbany). She officially retired in 1997 but was quickly reappointed to help develop the capstone of her university work, the emerging program in Biodiversity, Conservation, and Policy. A June 2004 proclamation recognized Meg's 12-year service as a citizen member of the Albany Pine Bush Preserve Commission. For many years, she has played a leading role in the Eastern New York Chapter of The Nature Conservancy, which awarded her its Oak Leaf Award in 1997. The University at Albany gave her its Citizen Laureate award in 1987. This June, the Epsilon chapter of Phi Beta Kappa at UNC-Greensboro elected her as an alumna member in recognition of an extraordinary career as a scientist and university professor. In the scientific world, Meg was best known as a herpetologist, one who studies amphibians and reptiles. Among her many scientific publications is her landmark book Amphibians of Malawi. One African frog, which she first collected, was subsequently named for her (Phrynobatrachus stewartae) and has the delightful common name Stewart's puddle frog. She studied the mink frog of the Adirondacks, the frogs of Jamaica, and especially the endemic coqui frog of Puerto Rico. Her distinguished work on the coqui resulted in an honorary doctorate from the University of Mayaquez in 1996. In 1979, Meg became the first female elected president of the American Society of Ichthyologists and Herpetologists (ASIH). For excellence in service to the society, ASIH awarded Meg its Robert K. Johnson Award in 2005. In the same year, the society awarded Meg its highest acclaim, the Henry S. Fitch Award, for long-term excellence in the study of amphibians and/or reptile biology. In spite of all her honors, Meg felt her greatest achievement were her students. She had been a major influence in the lives of a great many students. In particular, she was an early role model for young female students. Her influence will be long lasting. Sincere thanks to Dr. Garbo and his nurses and to the Hospice people, especially Scheila and Antoinette. A memorial service will be announced in the fall. Gifts in Meg's memory may be made to The University at Albany Foundation with notation for the Margaret Stewart Biodiversity Fund and sent to Dr. Sorrell Chesin at the Foundation, UAB-201, 1400 Washington Avenue, Albany, NY 12222.
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Published by Albany Times Union from Aug. 8 to Aug. 11, 2006.
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11 Entries
As a Biology undergraduate in the mid-1960s, I took Dr. Stewart's Field Biology and Invertebrate Zoology courses, and did an independent research study under her advisement. I shall never forget her kindness and support at the passing of my father-in-law, Bernard Vonnegut, and my beloved husband, Peter Vonnegut, both of whom worked at SUNYA/UAlbany for many years. I shall miss seeing Dr. Stewart at the dance performances at the EGG. My sincere condolences to her husband, Dr. Martin, whom Dr. Stewart always claimed was the real dance afficionado in the family.
Michi Vonnegut
August 28, 2006
Dr. Stewart was my academic advisor in the mid 1980's. I assisted in her lab through a work study program. I can remember exchanging the formaldehyde that preserved her extensive frog collection for isopropanol and the stench of the formaldehyde. But more fondly I remember a day when Dr. Stewart took me for a walk to the wooded area that is now Freedom Quad. I was awed by her knowledge of every single plant that we passed. It was clear that this was her passion and that she enjoyed sharing it with others. Dr. Stewart was an integral part of the SUNYA community and will truly be missed. My condolences to her family and friends.
Tammy Weingarten
August 20, 2006
I owe to Meg Stewart my productive and satisfying career as a university faculty member, now entering the 40th year at Florida State University where I am the R.K. Godfrey Professor of Biological Science. I was a 17 year-old freshman at Albany State Teacher's College in 1957, excelling in my biology classes, when I was pulled aside by Professor Stewart and offered an assistantship to serve as departmental stockroom manager and general gofer. At the princely sum of $15 every two weeks, the position was mainly honorary. Under her influence, and that of the other biology faculty, my ambitions turned from not only teaching about biology but to becoming a biological scientist. She helped me choose a graduate school then pulled some strings to get me in. Her own excellence in undergraduate teaching and her interest in, and collegial demeanor with, young students has served as a model throughout my career. Thank you Meg.
William Herrnkind
August 13, 2006
I too would not be where I am today without Dr. Stewart. I had the good fortune to be a student and an employee of Dr. Stewart's. I absolutely loved her classes and can remember them as if they were yesterday (although they were in the early 90's). She re-invigorated my love of science, especially field biology, and encouraged me to go to graduate school. I worked with Dr. Stewart analyzing the enormous amount of data she had from her work with the frogs in the Adirondacks. It was as her employee that I saw her support for women in science and was awed by her knowledge of, well, it seemed like, everything. She was a kind, caring, honest, person who will be greatly missed.
Margo Bowerman
August 11, 2006
Meg taught with my dad (Hudson Winn) for many years, and over the course of dozens of faculty picnics and a couple memorable outings at Cranberry Lake, became a friend of the whole family. The Winn "kids" thought of her as sort of an extra aunt. She was kind, smart, strong, and was always interested in what we had to say. At the time, she was one of the few women I knew with a full professional life, which made her an invaluable role model - and her frank (though gentle) manner and refusal to take guff made her a worthy opponent to my dad, which was always a lot of fun to watch. ;-) We'll all miss her a lot.
Ann Winn (Mueller)
August 10, 2006
I was deeply saddened to hear of Dr. Stuart's passing. She was such a force with a voice that will remain forever in my heart. She was so special.
Susan Emborsky
August 9, 2006
Meg Stewart was my lab instructor in zoology in the late '50's. Her enthusiasm for her subject and care for her students caused me to admire her greatly and work hard to earn an A in the class. She earned our deepest respect and made us feel that we were important to her. My deepest sympathy to her husband and family.

Ron Short '59
Ron Short
August 8, 2006
Meg was an inspiration to so many students and collegues; her accomplishments were outstanding. She will be missed by all of us who were priveleged to have known her. We send our sincere sympathies to you at this difficult time.
Lloyd and Jonna Lininger
August 8, 2006
I was a student of Meg's back in the 60's. She was a role model for me and I'm sure for many other young female biology students at a time when the field was dominated by men. In many ways I learned so very much from her. Hopefully, I in turn, was able to pass this on to my students during my 30 year teaching career. I will always remember her love of Biology and her gentle manner.
Linda Shartzer
August 8, 2006
Please accept my heartfelt sympathy on your loss. I was her family doctor for many years and it was always a great pleasure to see her. She faced her illness with courage and hope. I shall miss her.
Mary Johnston
August 8, 2006
If it weren't for Meg Stewart - I would not be where I am today. She recruited me as one of the first class of Biodiversity students at a time when I didn't even know what biodiversity meant. She was an extraordinary scholar and teacher and she will be missed.
Catherine Traina
August 8, 2006