NC State Names New Department Head for Forestry & Environmental Resources

Gower_Pic-webDr. Stith T. (Tom) Gower will join the College of Natural Resources at NC State University as head of the Department of Forestry and Environmental Resources.

Dr. Gower is an internationally recognized forest ecosystem ecologist, and is currently a professor at the University of Wisconsin-Madison in the Department of Forest and Wildlife Ecology and Faculty Director of BioHouse, a living learning community program for undergraduates majoring in biological sciences.

He holds a Bachelor of Science in Biology from Furman University, a Master of Science in Forest Ecology and a minor in Soil Science from NC State University, and a PhD in Forest Ecology from the University of Washington.  He is a University of Wisconsin Systems Teaching Fellow and Scholar and an HHMI Faculty Fellow with the Institute for Biology Education.

Dr. Gower’s research focuses primarily on the effects of disturbance on carbon, water and nutrient budgets of forest ecosystems, life cycle inventories of greenhouse gases to produce wood and paper products, forest carbon adaptation and mitigation management, and whole system (biological and industrial) analysis of forest ecosystems and landscapes to optimize sustainable production of ecosystem goods and services.

He has served as PI or co-investigator on numerous large multidisciplinary research teams raising over $14 million in extramural funding from the Department of Energy, the National Science Foundation, the National Institute of Food and Agriculture, and the National Aeronautics and Space Administration. His research has built productive collaborative relationships with state, provincial, federal, and private industry in the USA, Canada, Russian Federation, Sweden, China, and Portugal.

Dr. Gower is a frequent speaker on the topic of forest carbon cycles in biological and industrial (e.g., life cycle inventory) ecosystems and national forest carbon management policy at national and international conferences and symposia. He is the co-author of two books, approximately 200 peer-reviewed journal articles, and numerous proceedings papers, book chapters, and presentation papers and abstracts. He has also served on numerous forestry and natural resource advisory boards such as Advisory Committee for the Oak Ridge National Laboratory Digital Active Archive Center, and served as subject editor for forestry journals such as Tree Physiology and the Canadian Journal of Forest Resources.

In recent years, Gower has become interested in education innovation, and is a recent co-recipient of a NSF Ideas Lab grant to promote quantitative sciences in natural sciences, as well as renewing a national dialogue on rewarding faculty for outstanding education. He is currently involved in developing a series of education innovation classroom case studies and curricula that emphasize student-centered learning.

“Tom Gower brings a wealth of new ideas and a proven record of accomplishment to the Department and the College,” says Dean Mary Watzin. “I am delighted that he is willing to take on this new challenge.  Tom has a solid record of interdisciplinary thinking – developing and implementing creative new curricula and first-year retention programs and fostering opportunities for students to engage in meaningful research experiences.  His research exploring the dynamics of forest ecosystems and the tradeoffs that exist under different future scenarios of natural and industrial forest management, along with an enthusiasm for sharing information and solving practical problems, make Tom an excellent match for our college.  I look forward to working with him and am fully confident that under his leadership, this strong department will rise to the next level of excellence.”

Originally from Kentucky, Dr. Gower is married to Connie Gower, a native of Hendersonville, NC and graduate of North Carolina State University. They have two daughters, Kristen and Cathy, both of whom graduated from or attended NC State.

“I am thrilled to be returning to NC State and building on the incredibly rich history of the department, college and institution” says Dr. Gower. “It is truly an honor to return and serve the students, staff, and faculty.”

Dr. Gower will assume the duties of department head on October 16, 2014.


NC State University Paper Science & Engineering Program to Celebrate 60 Years of Success

NC State Paper Science & Engineering 60th AnniversaryThe Paper Science & Engineering(PSE) program in the College of Natural Resources at North Carolina State University will celebrate a tradition of success with a 60th Anniversary Celebration in September 2014. Alumni, industry partners, donors, faculty, staff, and students are invited to join us.

Three days of activities are planned for September 10-12 including: an Open House at Biltmore, Robertson and Pulp and Paper Labs, a Celebration Banquet, a Paper Industry Career Fair, a Golf Tournament, a Corn Hole Tournament, Lunch at Lonnie Poole Golf Course, “Insider” Tours of campus, and the NC State Pulp & Paper Foundation Annual Meeting!

One of the oldest and most respected paper science and engineering programs in the world, NC State has been building industry leaders and supporting a robust, innovative and sustainable industry since the creation of the Pulp and Paper program and the Pulp and Paper Foundation.

Students of the program are highly valued by companies as summer interns and semester co-ops. Nearly 100% of students graduate with multiple job offers with starting salaries among the highest at NC State University.

PSE graduates make significant contributions to the paper industry, other chemical process industries, and many other professional arenas. Our alumni include vice-presidents, mill managers, technical managers, research directors, consultants, sales personnel, business owners, professors, teachers, lawyers, doctors, and clergymen.

With a long history of outstanding student care and thorough engineering education, the PSE program has much of which to be proud.

A fine testament to NC State’s land grant mission, PSE’s research and technical service programs support the state’s Forest Products industry – an industry that contributes almost 30 billion dollars annually to North Carolina’s economy.

The program’s faculty has been recognized with numerous honors including six TAPPI Fellows, the highest honor awarded by the Technical Association of the Pulp and Paper Industry, more than any other institution.

This coming year, PSE expects to have 170 undergraduates and 40 graduate students.

For details of the NC State Paper Science & Engineering 60th Anniversary Celebration

Contact: Jennifer Piercy, (919) 515-7709

New Graduates Honored

NC State College of Natural Resources Commencement Ceremony December 18, 2013Following the university-wide commencement ceremony this morning, Dean Mary Watzin  will award diplomas to 218 summer and winter graduates of the  NC State University College of Natural Resources at the Jane S. McKimmon Center in Raleigh.  The college will award 63 graduate degrees and 155 undergraduate degrees.

Professor of Practice Mickey Fearn will deliver the commencement address and one student from each of our 3 departments will address their fellow graduates. The student speakers are – Jensen Reece Sales (Forest Biomaterials), Gretchen Louise Stokes (Forestry & Environmental Resources), and David Sean Gamble (Parks, Recreation & Tourism Management).

A graduation gift from the NC State Natural Resources Foundation will be presented to each graduate by foundation president, Art Raymond.  Departmental receptions will follow the diploma ceremony.

Congratulations to the graduates and new alumni of the College of Natural Resources and to their families.  View the diploma ceremony program for a complete list of graduates>>


Jerry Fox Memorial Scholarship Established

David A. Fox ’94, has established the Jerry H. Fox Scholarship to honor the memory and accomplishments of his father, the late Jerry H. Fox ’60.

Jerry Fox '60 Wood Technology

Jerry Fox ’60 Wood Technology

Originally from Roxboro, Jerry Fox attended NC State on the Pat Brown Lumber Company Scholarship and graduated from the School of Forestry in 1960 with a bachelor’s degree in Wood Technology.  During his undergraduate years, Jerry was an active member of the Forestry Club, served as President of the Forest Products Research Society and Xi Sigma Pi Forestry Society.  After graduation, Jerry was an accomplished banker and entrepreneur, as well as a proud husband and father.

David Fox established this endowment to support students at NC State University that embody the same characteristics and determination and academic excellence, as well as the strong passion for sustainable forestry and the natural environment, as his father.

The scholarship will provide opportunities for undergraduate students enrolled in the College of Natural Resources who have shown exemplary academic performance and merit and are pursuing a degree in the area of sustainable forestry, including but not limited to healthy forests, biomass and energy, wood production and new bio-product development.

The college is proud to help honor Jerry Fox and is grateful to David Fox for his generous support of our students.

Colby Named Chair of UNC Staff Assembly

Susan Colby, a staff person and alumna of our Department of Parks, Recreation and Tourism Management was recently named chair of the UNC Staff Assembly representing over 27,000 UNC System staff members to UNC System President, Tom Ross. She shared with us a little about the path which lead  herto this leadership position.

At the age of 12, Susan Saunders Colby (BA, BS PRTM, ’85, MPRTM, ’12) looked off the balcony of Lee Residence Hall over central campus towards downtown Raleigh and knew that she wanted to attend NC State University.

Susan Colby

I was a delegate to NC 4-H Club Congress for several years and each summer we would spend a week at State for 4-H competitions. I just fell in love with the campus and the city of Raleigh. Plus my favorite color is ‘red’ so I didn’t have a problem with the school colors.”

Colby entered NC State in the fall of 1980 with sights set on having a career in sports broadcasting.  After the first communications class, she decided that might not be her best career choice. So, sitting on her bed in Lee Hall, with the help of the old-fashioned NC State Course Catalog, she found Recreation Resources Administration  (now Parks, Recreation & Tourism Management) and felt this major would lead to a career which would keep her involved and enhance the things she loved.

“I remember thinking ‘what would my dream job look like?’ and coming up with the answer of ‘wearing shorts, t-shirts, a bathing suit and sneakers in the summer, sweatpants in the winter, something in sport or outdoors, and working with kids and older adults’. I was thrilled to find RRA. The things I learned from Beth Wilson, Carol Love, Bob Sternloff and so many others set me up for a successful career with the YMCA. My first position was as Youth and Day Camp Director, then as Health and Wellness Director where I worked with preschoolers through active older adults. I had my dream job!”

Colby returned to NC State in 2000 and now serves as the Student Services Coordinator for the NC State PGA Golf Management Program in PRTM. She is the advisor for the PGM Ambassadors, and the Women in PGA Golf Management and the Women Rising to the Top in PRTM student organizations. “I love what I do now. I enjoy watching our students grow, mature, graduate and become successful in their careers and in life. I guess I’ve had two dream jobs really.”

This month, October 2013) Colby will take on another leadership role as Chair of the UNC Staff Assembly representing over 27,000 UNC System staff members to UNC System President, Tom Ross. She just completed a year as Chair of the NC State Staff Senate in which she served as the voice of staff to Chancellor Randy Woodson and members of the NC State administration and Board of Trustees. “I feel like I’m ‘tri-lingual’, says Colby. ‘I speak student, alumni and staff.”

In her upcoming role with the UNC Staff Assembly, Colby will lead discussions with staff members from the 17 institutions across NC and relay information from those meetings to President Ross and his staff at UNC General Administration.

“Right now there is a lot talk about higher education, budget concerns, and staff reductions in force. Staff are worried. My goal is to be an effective communicator to the President on behalf of my colleagues throughout the state. And, to work with staff from the different campuses to generate ideas to help with morale issues and ideas for no-to-low cost benefits which can be given to employees who haven’t had a raise in 4 years.”

Colby earned her MPRTM in December 2012. In regards to the PRTM Online Masters Program she says, “I absolutely loved the Master of PRTM program. I learned so much. Most of my comments to the Staff Assembly delegation last October came from lessons learned through Dr. Jason Bocarro’s class on Organizational Behavior and Leadership.

Thanks to the grant writing portion of the Advanced Fiscal Management class I now have the basis for a grant I’d like to write to the PGA Foundation regarding funds for adaptive golf equipment. The funds would allow our students to work with people who would like to learn to play golf, but have special needs.   The PRTM Online Masters is a great program and I’d would highly recommend it. You’re never too old to learn!”