Florida Agricultural Hall of Fame
Dr. John Mortensen
John Mortensen was born in Texas and moved to Florida in 1960 to join the University of Florida's Central Florida Research and Education Center. During a 30-year career at the center, he left an indelible mark on Florida agriculture through his graperelated research.
As a geneticist at the center, he made significant contributions through his research that resulted in the development of grape varieties in Florida's climate. His research not only paved the way for homeowners to grow grapes, but made it possible for the viticulture industry to become a reality in the Sunshine State. Mortensen's research has resulted in the release of nine bunch grapes and two muscadines.
Before moving to Florida, Mortensen attended Texas A&M University and obtained a bachelor of science degree and a master's degree in horticulture. He later attended Cornell University, where he received a doctoral degree in plant breeding.
Mortensen was a plant breeder in vegetables for Bird's Eye Frozen Foods in Albion, N.Y., prior to joining the Central Florida Research and Education Center. In 1989, he was named the assistant center director.
Throughout his career, he has written and co-authored dozens of articles. He retired from the center in 1991 and now holds the title of professor emeritus. He continues to serve on many agricultural-related committees, including: American Genetic Association; American Pomological Society; American society for Horticultural Science; Florida State Horticultural Society.