Dr. Jerry Choate was born in Bartlesville, Oklahoma on March 21, 1943; the son of Alyce J. Cox and F. L. “Lucky” Choate. He earned a Bachelor’s Degree in Biology from the Kansas State College of Pittsburg in 1965, and a Ph.D. in Zoology from the University of Kansas in 1969. He joined the Fort Hays Kansas State College faculty in 1971 as an Assistant Professor of Zoology. He was promoted to Associate Professor in 1976, then to Professor in 1980.
In 1973, Dr. Choate was appointed director of the Fort Hays State University’s Museum of the High Plains and overall director of FHSU museums in 1980, which included not only the Museum of the High Plains but also the Sternberg Memorial Museum. In anticipation of moving off the main campus, these two museums were merged in 1994 to become the Sternberg Museum 2 of Natural History. Dr. Choate remained as museum director until retiring in the summer of 2009; he passed away on December 9, 2009. He is survived by his wife, Rosemary Fidelis Walker, and son, Judd Randolph, daughter-in-law, Lyn Kathlene, and 2 granddaughters, Mahlon and Jacqueline Rosemary.
During his career, Dr. Choate held positions with the State Biological Survey of Kansas, the University of Connecticut, the University of Kansas and Yale University. He published five books, 127 refereed journal articles and 55 un-refereed and technical publications, and gave numerous scholarly presentations. He was awarded the C. Hart Merriam Award in 1986 which recognizes outstanding contributions to mammalogy by members of the American Society of Mammalogists. Dr. Choate also received the Fort Hays State University President’s Distinguished Scholar award in 2005, which recognizes instruction, research and creative activities and service performance.
Dr. Choate held membership in the American Association for the Advancement of Science, American Society of Mammalogists, Association of Systematics Collections, Beta Beta Beta, Biological Society of Washington, Kansas Academy of Science, North Dakota Natural Science Society, Society of the Sigma Xi, Society for the Study of Evolution, Southern California Academy of Sciences and Southwestern Association of Naturalists.
Fort Hays State University Archives, "Dr. Jerry R. Choate Papers, 1965-2009" (2016). Archives Finding Aids. 11.