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Charles H. Strauss

B.S. Forestry, 1958

Charles H. "Chuck" Strauss completed the B.S. in forestry at Penn State 1958 and an M.S. degree in wood products marketing at Michigan State University in 1960. After graduation he accepted a position with the California Redwood Association in San Francisco as a products and marketing specialist.

His time on the West Coast was short; he was hired by the School of Forest Resources at Penn State in 1961 as an instructor and extension specialist in forest products, a new position providing education programs on lumber drying, timber marketing, and capital investments. Concurrently at Penn State he earned an M.A. in economics (1968) and a Ph.D. in agricultural economics (1974).

Strauss began his teaching career in 1966 when he joined the resident teaching staff as instructor in forest economics. That year he taught forest mensuration during the last summer camp ever held at Stone Valley. He taught forest economics and finance for 40 years, as well as other required courses such as forest resources inventory and forest management.

Strauss’ doctoral research produced a financial model of operating and capital costs for Pennsylvania’s system of state parks. This led the Bureau of State Parks to establish a formal research program with Strauss and Penn State that lasted 20 years. He wrote or co-wrote more than 140 publications, many of them about the economics of recreation and tourism, short-rotation biomass production for energy, availability of timber supplies, and economics of wood products industries. He also surveyed the placement of the School’s baccalaureate graduates annually, starting in 1973, and summarized 25 years of employment data in 2000.

Strauss served on the University Senate for 20 years. He was faculty adviser to the Penn State Forestry Society for 10 years (1965-75), the Xi Sigma Pi forestry honorary society for 10 years (1967-77), the Sylvan yearbook (1985-94), and the Tau Phi Delta forestry fraternity for 30 years (1968-97).

Strauss’ international experience includes an assignment as a visiting professor at the University of Freiburg, Germany (2000), participation with a People-to-People delegation that visited the Republic of China to review forest management and wood marketing practices (1985), and involvement with a U.S. AID research assessment of Philippine universities (1976).

As the School’s interim director in 2001 and as director since 2002, Strauss’ leadership guided the design and helped raise funding for the $30 million, state-of-the-art Forest Resources Building that was dedicated in 2006. He oversaw the School of Forest Resources Centennial Celebration in 2007.

Strauss received honorary awards from Phi Eta Sigma (freshman), Phi Epsilon Phi (botany), Gamma Sigma Delta (agriculture), Xi Sigma Pi (forestry), Pi Gamma Mu (social science), and Omnicron Delta Epsilon (economics). His achievements have been recognized by awards from the Pennsylvania Parks and Recreation Society (1982), the Pennsylvania Forestry Association (1992), and by students of the School of Forest Resources as the outstanding faculty member in 2001. He received the Pennsylvania Forestry Association’s Rothrock Conservationist of the Year Award in 2004 in recognition of his long-term work in forest economics, forest measurements, and forest management. In 2006, alumni of Tau Phi Delta collectively donated more than $25,000 to name a faculty office for Strauss in the new Forest Resources Building. In 2007, he was named a Distinguished Fellow of the Mont Alto Campus, Penn State, and in 2008 the Kocjancic Family endowed a Trustee Scholarship in his honor.

April 2008