President's Message

Greetings fellow SFR alumni,

As I reflect on what is taking place locally and around the world, the adage that “the one thing you can count on is there is going to be change” really is accurate.   Here are a few things that are currently changing at a rapid pace:  the world economy;  Middle East governments, especially Egypt and Libya;  the presidential polls; state budgets;  the value of subsurface land rights in the Marcellus gas regions;  diesel fuel prices;  and the future of the Penn State School of Forest Resources. 

Some of these changes are good changes and some are not so good.  Some are both good and bad depending on which side of the fence you are on.  A prime example is the Marcellus Shale gas play.  The good things are:  it may help America become more energy self sufficient,  landowners who were previously cash-poor now are able to pay their bills, there are lots of job and business opportunities, and it helps the rural economies.  The bad things are:  an increase in local truck traffic, roads being damaged in the short term, no one knows for sure the long-term effects of “fracing,” there are environmental risks in drilling and fracing, and pipelines and well pads are taking timberland out of production.

In this newsletter Mike Messina, director of the School of Forest Resources, talks about the current “Ag Futures” process that is taking place in the College of Agricultural Sciences.  This whole process is going to bring about change to the School of Forest Resources (SFR).  The changes that are going to occur must be looked at as a positive way to strengthen the SFR and make sure that it and the students it produces are ready for what the future may hold.  These students will be going into a much different “environment” than previous graduates.  There are SFR alumni and friends who have been involved and will be involved in this process to assure that the School of Forest Resources will be around for another hundred years plus.  It may not be the same name, but then again it is not the same name now as it was one hundred years ago. 

Additionally, the governor of the state of Pennsylvania has presented a budget that reduces funding to The Pennsylvania State University by 52%.  This will have a huge effect on Penn State and especially the College of Agricultural Sciences.  Hopefully this will change for the better by the time the budget is due out at the end of June. 

On April 15 our annual alumni and friend’s banquet took place at Toftrees Resort and Conference Center in State College.  It's always a great opportunity to get together with old friends, learn the up-to-date goings on at the School, and show your support for the SFR.  We also honored four very deserving outstanding alumni and one outstanding recent alum. 

Change is happening.  Stay involved with your SFR alumni group.

Marc D. Lewis ’78
P.O. Box A
Hillsgrove, PA 18619-0901
(570) 924-3507