Philip E. Marucci, an entomologist and world-renowned authority on blueberry and cranberry cultivation, served as chief scientist of the Blueberry and Cranberry Center for more than 30 years. After his retirement from Rutgers, he continued to serve the industry until his death in 1994 as a consultant and friend of the Tru-Blu Association, Blueberry Cooperative and the U.S. Weather Service.
Marucci’s pioneering research led to the elucidation of the life cycle of cherry fruit worms in blueberries and identified sharpnosed leafhopper as the vector of blueberry stunt disease. The identification of the blueberry stunt vector provided for the only known control of the disease.
During World War II, Marucci’s research enabled the U.S. Army to control malaria in the Caribbean and Panama. Just as significant were his contributions to all aspects of blueberry and cranberry culture. His work on pollination, pathology and nutrition led to standard management practices, which are still being employed today. He developed the “Marucci-Rock Bottom” formula to predict frost in cranberry beds. He had the unique ability to translate scientific concepts to blueberry and cranberry growers and, through his efforts and dedication to research and extension, he laid the foundation for the current growth and success of the Center.
Marucci received the first Distinguished Servant Award from Rutgers’ Cook College in 1976 in recognition of his work and unparalleled dedication to the agricultural industry. He also received the George H. Cook Distinguished Alumnus Award in 1988. Marucci was a 1936 graduate of the Rutgers College of Agriculture and remained loyal to Rutgers throughout his entire life. He was honored by the Rutgers University Foundation with his selection to the Governor’s Cabinet.