Share

History

The Penn State Mont Alto Forestry Alumni Association was organized in 1939 by Penn State forestry alumni and Mont Alto forestry graduates. Membership then included graduates of the old State Forest School at Mont Alto, prior to its merger in 1929 with The Pennsylvania State University; the forestry graduates of Penn State together with those who completed the discontinued two-year ranger course; and anyone who completed graduate work in forestry at Penn State. The first meeting of the association was held in the forestry building on the University Park Campus on October 12, 1940. Association membership then totaled 188.

The level of our alumni activity has varied over the years. In 1948 our alumni dedicated a plaque in the lobby of Ferguson Building to the Penn State forestry students and alumni who lost their lives in World Wars I and II. In 1957, on the 50th anniversary of the school, alumni completed a memorial tree planting that extended along both sides of Curtin Road from Shortlidge Road to Porter Road to also commemorate those individuals. In 1973, the association installed and dedicated a plaque and stone monument at Mont Alto commemorating the founding of the Pennsylvania State Forest Academy in 1903. The Mont Alto graduates held reunions every five years on that campus and still do, and each year at the Society of American Foresters national convention an alumni get-together was sponsored by the association and still is. An alumni newsletter was and still is published with assistance from the school.

In 1992 efforts were begun to better align our alumni organization with the alumni structure at Penn State, which consists of the alumni association at the university level, alumni societies at the college level, and affiliate program groups at the department or unit level. Another reason for the proposed reorganization was that input to the alumni newsletter indicated that more recent School of Forest Resources graduates perceived the Penn State Mont Alto Forestry Alumni Association to be an organization only for those graduates who had spent some time at the Mont Alto campus. Thus many alumni who graduated after the mid-1960s were not involved or effectively represented. In 1993, the School of Forest Resources Alumni Group was officially established as an affiliate program group of the School of Forest Resources in the College of Agricultural Sciences.

In 1995, the alumni group identified two black oaks that are all that are believed to remain of the original 125 trees that were planted in 1953-1957 as a memorial to Penn State forestry students and alumni who lost their lives in World Wars I and II. The relocation of Beaver Stadium in the 1960s and the reconstruction of Curtin Road destroyed most of the trees. A small bronze plaque, originally marking a stone at the northeast corner of Wagner Building, now rests at the base of the last two oaks at the intersection of Curtin and Porter roads. The alumni group is now working to identify Penn State forestry students and alumni who died in the Vietnam and Korean wars. In 1997, the alumni group created the Alumni Fund for Teaching Excellence. The alumni group now also sponsors alumni gatherings at the national meetings of the American Fisheries Society and The Wildlife Society, in addition to the "traditional" alumni gathering at the Society of American Foresters national convention.

The School of Forest Resources published its first alumni newsletter in 1943, and since then a newsletter has been distributed once or twice a year to an ever-growing alumni list. In winter 2001, the alumni newsletter became part of RESOURCES, a new publication for School of Forest Resources alumni and friends (those interested in the school but not necessarily alumni). RESOURCES is published twice a year.

Membership in the School of Forest Resources Alumni Group is open to all graduates of the school (including graduates of intercollege graduate programs who were advised by School of Forest Resources faculty), regardless of their membership in the Penn State Alumni Association, and to other friends with a special interest in the school's programs. No membership dues are charged. The alumni group relies on contributions to support alumni activities. As of August 2009, School of Forest Resources Alumni Group membership includes 4,725 alumni. An additional 522 alumni are inactive (that is, no current address is known) and an additional 1,468 alumni are deceased.