New endowment to enhance Penn State turfgrass programs

University Park, Pa. -- Penn State turfgrass research and education will get a boost as the result of a recent gift to the College of Agricultural Sciences.

Pennsylvania Turfgrass Research Inc. gave the college $300,000 to establish an endowment -- the Pennsylvania Turf Research Innovation Fund -- that will provide financial support for studies to address important issues facing the turf industry, while creating new research opportunities for students.

Penn State's Center for Turfgrass Science is recognized as a leader in the field of turfgrass research. Turfgrass varieties developed at Penn State are used widely on golf courses around the world. In addition, graduates of the four-year Turfgrass Science and two-year Golf Course Turfgrass Management programs are employed at some of the world's top golf courses and at many professional sports venues across the country.

Founded in 2004 by directors of the Pennsylvania Turfgrass Council -- an industry group made up of golf-course, sports-turf and landscape managers -- Pennsylvania Turfgrass Research Inc. solicited contributions to support development of new turfgrass-management practices and products and to train the next generation of turfgrass managers.

The organization's five-year "Growing the Game" fundraising campaign received support from Penn State alumni, golf course owners and managers, avid golfers, companies that serve and support the golf turf industry, and other people who enjoy lawns, athletic fields and environmentally sustainable landscapes.

Future fundraising efforts, including golf-tournament events, will continue to enhance the endowment. Those interested in contributing can contact Jerred Golden, chair of the Pennsylvania Turfgrass Research Inc. trustees.

"We would like to express our sincere thanks to the trustees of Pennsylvania Turfgrass Research Inc. and all contributors to the 'Growing the Game' campaign for their generous donation in support of turfgrass research at Penn State," said Peter Landschoot, professor of turfgrass science and director of the Center for Turfgrass Science. "The Pennsylvania Turf Research Innovation Fund will be used to provide annual grants in support of experiential learning opportunities for Penn State graduate and undergraduate students in laboratory and field turfgrass research," he said.

Landschoot said the fund will help Penn State enhance its efforts in several areas:

--Improving turfgrass performance and aesthetics by developing and evaluating practices, products and turf varieties to better resist weeds, diseases and stresses.

--Developing more sustainable methods of maintaining turfgrass.

--Ensuring the highest-quality, safest turfgrass for the recreational enjoyment of golfers and athletic-field users.

--Conducting research to evaluate and create new and safer products.

--Controlling turfgrass maintenance costs through new research and outreach services.

--Attracting and training young people as a resource for Pennsylvania golf clubs, athletic fields, landscape companies and suppliers.

To learn more about Penn State's turfgrass programs, visit the Center for Turfgrass Science website.

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Last Updated March 21, 2011