Gregorio Tiongson Velasquez (September 2, 1901-July 29,1989) was Professor Emeritus of botany in the University of the Philippines. He was known for his pioneering research in phycology, or the study of algae.
Career and Contributions
Known as the Father of Philippine Phycology, Dr. Velasquez pioneered the intensive study and collection of the Philippine blue-green algal species. He studied and investigated algal specimens in Oriental Mindoro, Eastern Palawan, Sulu, Batangas and Bataan such as the Euglenophyceae, Chlorophyceae, and Myxophyceae. He was able to produce 47 basic and 77 valuable scientific papers on the subject.
He received the following honors and awards: Distinguished Science Medal and Diploma of Honor from RP 1956; John Simon Guggenheim Memorial Foundation Fellowship, 1956-57; R.P. Cultural Heritage Award, 1972; citations by the Carnegie Institute of Technology, USA and the Max Planck Institute of Zellbiologie in Germany as well as Emeritus Membership in the New York Academy of Sciences. For many years, he was Chairman for Biological Sciences of the National Research Council of the Philippines. In 1982 he was conferred the title of National Scientist by former President Ferdinand E. Marcos. With his wife, Carmen Camacho Velasquez, also named as a National Scientist later on, the Velasquezes claim to be only the second husband and wife pair to be honored as such in the world after the Curie couple of France.
Dr. Velasquez completed his elementary and high school education in his hometown of Calumpit, Bulacan. He then obtained his Bachelor of Science and Master of Science degrees, Major in Botany, from the University of the Philippines in 1925 and 1931 respectively. Later he studied at the University of Michigan and finished another Master of Science degree (1937), as well as a Ph.D. (1939), Major in Phycology under the supervision of the eminent phycologist, William Randolph Taylor. Upon his return to the Philippines, he joined the Department of Botany of the University of the Philippines as an assistant instructor and gradually rose through the ranks and eventually became its Department Chairman.
He was married to Carmen Camacho Velasquez, a fish parasitologist and also a National Scientist, with whom he has three daughters. Velasquez Street on the campus of the University of the Philippines in Diliman, Quezon City was named in honor of the couple who resided in one of the older houses located on the same street.