In the news: Professors brave bureaucracy in Cuba for research opportunity


In his career as a biology professor and orchid enthusiast, Lawrence Zettler has shared space with alligators and poisonous snakes to get glimpses, and whiffs, of his beloved specimens.

But in early August, Zettler and fellow Illinois College professor Steven Gardner faced dangers of a different kind — paperwork and bureaucrats. They traveled to Cuba to research orchid preservation on the island.

After numerous delays, plus a persistent trio of Cuban government workers at the airport who questioned the  professors three different times for a half-hour at a time — “You’re here to look at orchids?” one imagines them saying — they were able to continue their visit.

“My first impression as we stepped into the hot, night air and I saw two old 1950s cars was, ‘This is real. We are here.’” Zettler said.

About Illinois College

Founded in 1829, Illinois College is a residential liberal arts college fostering academic excellence rooted in opportunities for experiential learning while preparing students for lifelong success. The college is located in Jacksonville, Ill. With an enrollment of about 1,000 students, the college offers over 50 undergraduate programs and a Master of Arts in Education degree program. In 1932 the society of Phi Beta Kappa established a chapter at Illinois College, and it remains one of only 11 in the state.

Illinois College is accredited by the Higher Learning Commission of the North Central Association.

Visit or call 217-245-3467 for more information.

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