Grace appointed Penn State Goddard chair in forest resources

October 07, 2010

University Park, Pa. -- James Grace, deputy secretary of the Pennsylvania Department of Conservation and Natural Resources (DCNR), was recently selected as the new Maurice K. Goddard chair in forestry and environmental resource conservation in Penn State's School of Forest Resources.
Grace, who will serve a term of up to six years, currently is responsible for directing DCNR's bureaus of State Parks and Forestry, and Facility Design and Construction. Under his leadership, Pennsylvania's state parks in 2009 were awarded the nation's top honor: the National Gold Medal Award for Excellence in Park and Recreation Management. With 117 state parks, Pennsylvania has one of the largest and most diverse park systems in the country.

During Grace's tenure as director of the Pennsylvania Bureau of Forestry from1994 to 2007, the bureau incorporated the principles of ecosystem management and a landscape approach to forest management. In addition, the bureau provided more than $5 million for research and extension activities, and more than 100,000 acres were added to the state forest system.

In 1997, also under Grace's guidance, Pennsylvania state forests became the first public forest in the nation to be granted a certificate of good forest management by the Forest Stewardship Council. With 2.1 million acres of state forest land, Pennsylvania has one of the largest sustainable certified forests in the United States.

The Goddard chair is a faculty position unlike any other at Penn State, with a focus on providing leadership on public-policy issues. Those chosen to fill it need not have extensive academic or research experience. The chair holder is expected to spend half of his or her time on public outreach, a third on teaching and the remainder on other scholarly activity, noted Michael Messina, director of the School of Forest Resources, which is part of the College of Agricultural Sciences.

"Jim Grace is a long-time conservation leader who will greatly help our school maintain its important role in Penn State's land-grant mission," he said. "His expertise complements existing strengths among our faculty -- he has the perfect experience required of the position."

The Goddard Chair was established in 1983 to honor Maurice Goddard, Pennsylvania's "father of state parks." Goddard directed Penn State's School of Forest Resources from 1952 to 1955. During his subsequent tenure in state government, serving under five governors, he succeeded in establishing a state park within 25 miles of every Pennsylvanian.

Grace was a faculty member at Rutgers University and at Penn State, serving as an assistant professor and extension forester in the School of Forest Resources from 1983 to 1986. He earned his doctoral degree in forest resources at Penn State in 1978, a master's degree in forest science at Yale University in 1972 and his bachelor's degree in forest management at the University of Vermont in 1970.

  • James Grace

    IMAGE: Penn State

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Last Updated January 09, 2015