About Robert O. Wagner

Robert O. Wagner 1935-2011

AZA Executive Director 1975-1992
AZA Chief Administrative Officer 1992-1996
R. Marlin Perkins Award
1994 AZA Honorary Member

Bob was born in Evansville, Indiana, on August 15, 1935. He attended Purdue University where he studied zoology. Bob began his zoo career as a Keeper at Mesker Park Zoo, Evansville, Indiana, in 1955, later becoming Head Keeper and then Assistant Director (1955-1959). After this, Bob became the Director at Washington Park Zoo, Michigan City, Indiana (1959-1964) and then Director at Jackson Zoological Park, Jackson, Mississippi (1964-1975).

As a member of AZA, Bob was Chair of the Membership and Legislative Committees, first Treasurer, and one of the AZA Incorporators. He served on the Board (1971-1974) and as Vice President (1974-1975) before being chosen as the AZA Executive Director in May 1975. Bob remained in this position until July 1992 when he became the Chief Administrative Officer. In December 1996, Bob retired from AZA.

During Bob's tenure, the Association grew from 636 members to over 6,000 and from a $30,000 to a multi-million dollar budget, as well as a Conservation Endowment Fund exceeding $3 million. Some AZA highlights of Bob's tenure as Executive Director include:

AZA Office opens in Wheeling, West Virginia
Articles of Incorporation approved by State of West Virginia
Accreditation Procedures enacted for Institution members on voluntary basis

School for Professional Management Development first held in Wheeling, West Virginia
Outstanding Service Award established

Code of Professional Ethics adopted
Conservation Award, Education Award, First Breeding Certificate, Silver Propagator's Certificate & Gold Propagator's Certificate established

R. Marlin Perkins Award established

Accreditation becomes mandatory for new institutions

Species Survival Plans initiated
Conservation Office opens in Apple Valley, Minnesota

Zoological Park and Aquarium Fundamentals, 2nd edition, published
Zoo Biology begins publication

Conservation Endowment Fund established

Accreditation becomes mandatory for existing institutional members
First Long-Range Plan developed for the Association

School for Applied Zoo and Aquarium Biology established

Conservation Office moved to Conservation Center, Bethesda, Maryland

Studbook Training Program and Conservation Academy established
Annual Report on Conservation and Science begins annual publication
Second Long-Range Plan developed for the Association
Received AZA’s highest honor, the R. Marlin Perkins Award

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