BSc. (Addis Ababa), MSc., PhD. (Uppsala), FLS.

Prof. Kokwaro was born in Gem, Siaya District in 1940. After his early education in Kisumu and at Bungoma Missionary College in Uganda. He joined Addis Ababa University where he studied for a B.Sc. degree in Agriculture. He was awarded a Swedish Government postgraduate scholarship in 1966 and joined the University of Uppsala where he undertook research projects in systematic botany for both his M.Sc. and Ph.D. degrees. He returned to Kenya briefly in 1968 for his field work, and joined the teaching staff of the Department of Botany at the University of Nairobi. He was a member of many national and international scientific organizations, including being the Chairman of the East African Natural History Society (founded 1909), Fellow 'of the Linnean Society of London (F.L.S.), member of the World Health Organization Steering Committee and Research on Plants for Fertility Regulation. Prof. Kokwaro's research interest was on systematic and economic botany, particularly on East African plants. He had published over 40 publications including seven internationally recognized and read books. Included among his books, are four on the Flora of Tropical East Africa,Classification of East African Crops and the world famous Medicinal Plants of East Africa. The use of different May tenus species in traditional medicine as a cure for leukemia and other types of cancer in Kenya was first reported by Kokwaro in one of his books. Maytansine, a cancer drug was later isolated from the same plants in the United States. Prof. Kokwaro passed on in the year 2019 and is post-humously honored.