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Forest School Patch

Penn State Forest School patches are pieces of art and mementos of time gone by.

Rex McHail ’50 designed the patch and had it produced at The Standard Pennant Company in Big Run, PA, while he was a first-year student at Mont Alto in fall 1946. McHail’s patch (row 1, left) is one of four in this collection made of looped wool yarn (chenille). These patches were made individually, sewn by hand with a sewing machine. Each has two penciled numbers on the back, indicating who embroidered it and who stitched on the felt and buckram backing.

Click HERE for detailed article that includes images of the individual patches

Other patches are felt-on-felt. They, too, are individually sewn, as evidenced by the variations in the lettering, tree silhouette, and the shape and placement of the ax, leaf, and cone. One of these felt-on-felt patches (row 5, left), donated by Charles Abbey ’59, marks a change in text from Forest School to Forestry School.

The Forestry School text also appears on the sole patches of cotton canvas (row 5, right), donated by Charles Engle ’59, and cotton twill (row 6, left), donated by Karl Lutz ’78, both with automated embroidered lettering and design. Engle’s and Lutz’s patches are the only ones in this collection without a Standard Pennant Company label on back, so where they were produced is not known.

Some individual class patches were also created. The large, circular, Class of ’54 patch was designed by Rodney Cobi ’54 and donated by Temple Reynolds ’54. The brightly colored Acers patch was donated by Diane Peterson Ritchey, wife of the late William “Bill” Ritchey ’50. The Class of 1950s inaugural issue of The Seedling, a student newsletter at Mont Alto dated November 11, 1946, featured an Acers emblem on the cover and reported the organization of an Acers Club.

Some patches were well worn, such as the one that Joseph McNaney ’55 put on his work jacket in 1951 and did not remove until donating it to this collection (row 4, right). Robert “Bob” Baldwin ’57, using an original patch donated by Paul DeBald ’57, had replica Forest School patches made at the still-in-business Standard Pennant Company, for their 50th class reunion in 2007 (row 6, right). Unfortunately two floods in Big Run—one in 1977 and another in 1996—wiped out all of the company’s historical files, including old stock samples.

This collection serves to preserve the history of the Forest School patch. A more detailed article about the patch is available from the School of Forest Resources Undergraduate Programs Office.

Thank you to the following alumni who contributed one or more patches to this display:

  • Rex McHail ’50 (row 1, left),
  • Diane Peterson Ritchey ’50, wife of deceased alumnus William Ritchey ’50 (row 1, right, and Acers patch),
  • Glenn Haney ’51 (row 2, left, and row 3, left),
  • Temple Reynolds ’54 (row 2, right, and circular patch)
  • Boyd Witherow ’43, ’48g (row 3, right),
  • Earl Reinsel ’56, ’60g (row 4, left),
  • Joseph McNaney ’55 (row 4, right),
  • Charles Abbey ’59 (row 5 , left),
  • Charles Engle ’59 (row 5, right),
  • Karl Lutz ’78 (row 6, left), and
  • Robert Baldwin ’57, ’61g (row 6, right).

March 2009