- National Academies (1941)
- American Association for the Advancement of Science
Theodore ("Ted") Willet Torrey was born in Woodbine, Iowa, in 1907. He earned his B.A. in 1927 from the University of Denver. Subsequently he attended Harvard University, where he received his M.A. in 1929 and Ph.D. in 1932. That same year he was appointed instructor at Indiana University where he remained active until his retirement in 1972. His research focused on the degeneration of nerves and sense organs as well as of the development and function of the vertebrate kidney. Ted was promoted to professor in 1947 and became chairman of zoology one year later. Torrey became one of the first instructors in the country to combine the premedical courses, embryology and comparative anatomy, into a single course, developmental anatomy. His textbook for the new course, Morphogenesis of the Vertebrates, incorporated his concept that bone preceded cartilage in the evolution of the vertebrate skeleton. Torrey chaired the University Committee on Curricular Policies and Educational Programs. This committee helped guide the expansion of Indiana University during the rapid growth between 1953 and 1965. One notable accomplishment of this committee during Torrey's chairmanship was the acceptance of a basic curriculum by all divisions of the university. The committee also ruled on the acceptability of the specific courses in satisfying the requirements of the basic curriculum. Torrey served as department chairperson for 18 years, which included the early years of the Biology Division. He remained a Bloomington resident until his death on August 31, 1986.