Horticulture Faculty Member Named Styer Professor

UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. -- Dan Stearns, professor of landscape contracting in Penn State's College of Agricultural Sciences, has been named J. Franklin Styer Professor of Horticultural Botany.

The Styer Professorship, created in 1990 by an endowment from late Penn State alumnus J. Franklin Styer, is intended to supplement departmental support for outstanding faculty and further the scholar's contributions to teaching, research and service.

Stearns coordinates the department of horticulture's landscape contracting major while teaching undergraduate courses in residential landscape planning, landscape planting design, landscape construction, and landscape estimating and bidding. He has won numerous awards for excellence and innovation in teaching and curriculum development.

"Among our community of educators, Dan Stearns stands out as one of the best," says Robert Steele, dean of the College of Agricultural Sciences. "His commitment to our undergraduates is marked by the dedication and imagination he brings to his teaching and by the mentoring relationships he develops with his students."

In 2003, Stearns was named a Harbaugh Faculty Scholar by the College of Agricultural Sciences in recognition of his creativity in cultivating new, innovative curricula. He is a member of several professional organizations, including the American Society for Horticultural Science and the American Society of Landscape Architects.

Stearns earned his bachelor's degree from Penn State and his master's degree from North Carolina State University, where he also served as a research assistant. Prior to joining Penn State in 1989, he was a landscape architect for the New York State Department of Transportation and for the U.S. Department of Agriculture Forest Service in North Carolina. He also owned lawn-care and landscape-architecture businesses in Massachusetts.

J. Franklin Styer graduated from Penn State in 1922 with a bachelor's degree in agriculture and earned a Ph.D. from the University of Pennsylvania in botany. In 1924, he took over his father's nursery business, which included greenhouses, peonies, mushrooms and nursery stock. He died in 1996.

In 1994, Styer established the J. Franklin and Agnes T. Styer Scholarship in Horticulture. In 1996, Styer's estate also created a graduate fellowship for horticulture students in the College of Agricultural Sciences.

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Chuck Gill Writer/Editor Phone: 814-863-2713 E-mail: cdg5@psu.edu

Last Updated March 19, 2009