Dr. Zar served the NIU community in a variety of capacities for 34 years until his retirement in 2002, and he continues to contribute to its activities.
After earning his master’s and doctoral degrees in biology and zoology, respectively, from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, he joined the faculty at Northern as an assistant professor in 1968. He quickly rose through the ranks to associate and full professor and became chair of the Department of Biological Sciences from 1978-84. From 1984-2002, Zar was NIU’s Vice Provost for Graduate Studies and Research and Dean of the Graduate School.
His book entitled Biostatistical Analysis is one of the best known and most widely used on the subject. He also has authored 44 journal articles, 11 book chapters, and a laboratory and field manual for general ecology. His numerous professional memberships include being an elected fellow of the prestigious American Association for the Advancement of Science.
Zar dedicated much of his administrative career at Northern to recruiting and retaining qualified minority graduate students, faculty, and staff. He was a founding member of two statewide programs that provided fellowships for outstanding minority graduate students at NIU and across the state.
Since retirement, he has served on several NIU committees, including the board of the Friends of the Northern Illinois University Libraries.