Royal D. Suttkus joined the Tulane University faculty in 1950 and immediately began building the modern fish collection on a foundation of just two mounted fish specimens left over from the early museum. By 1968 the fish collection had grown to a size of just over two million specimens, overfilling its space in Richardson Memorial and Dinwiddee Halls on the main campus. Cagle's dream of developing land on the Mississippi River as an Environmental Biology Laboratory was realized in part in 1968, when, under Suttkus' direction, the fish, bird, mammal, and vertebrate fossil collections were moved to the F. Edward Hebert Riverside Research Laboratories in Belle Chasse, establishing the Systematics and Environmental Biology Laboratory, now the Tulane Museum of Natural History.

In 1976, Suttkus convinced the Tulane administration to formally recognize the zoological collections at Riverside as the Tulane University Museum of Natural History, and to appoint him as the Museum's first Director. In 1979 the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, National Ecology Research Center established a field station at Riverside to study vertebrates in the waters around the Gulf of the Mexico. The Tulane Fish Collection presently contains over 7 million specimens and is one of the largest fish collections in the world. Remarkably, Suttkus himself had a hand in collecting over 5 million of the fish specimens during his many expeditions across the southern United States and Central America.

Suttkus retired from Tulane University in 1990. Over a career at Tulane spanning 50 years Suttkus, has published over 100 scientific papers, described 32 new species of southeastern fishes (20% of all the species described from the southeast during that period and 50% of the new fishes from Gulf Coast drainages) and directed 18 graduate students (4 M.S., 14 Ph.D.). As Emeritus Professor and Curator of the Museum, he continues to collect and publish on fishes and other organisms in his retirement.

In October of 2000, friends, colleagues and former students of R.D. Suttkus gathered at the Pontchartrain Hotel in New Orleans to pay tribute to Suttkus’ 50 years of service to Tulane University and the field of biology. The Royal D. Suttkus Jubilee featured a one-day symposium, with tributes and testimonials on Suttkus' professional accomplishments; a banquet, featuring a song by Buck Snelson and a tally of Suttkus' fish collecting; and a dedication ceremony at the Tulane University Museum of Natural History, during which the Tulane fish collection was renamed the Royal D. Suttkus Fish Collection.

This is the official web site of the Royal D. Suttkus Jubilee. In it, you will find lists of Jubilee participants, Suttkus Symposium presentations, Suttkus students, Suttkus publications, Suttkus species descriptions, Suttkus patronyms, the infamous Suttkus song and photos of the Jubilee. Have fun!

A fund has also been established to purchase an ichthyology library for the Royal D. Suttkus Fish Collection. Anyone wishing to contribute to the fund, should contact Linda Bustoz at 504-394-1711 or by e-mail at lbustoz@museum.tulane.edu .