Elmendorf named Joseph E. Ibberson Chair in Urban and Community Forestry

October 31, 2017

UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. — William Elmendorf, professor and extension specialist in urban forestry in the College of Agricultural Sciences, has been named the first holder of the Joseph E. Ibberson Chair in Urban and Community Forestry.

The endowed chair was made possible by a gift from the late Joseph E. Ibberson, a 1947 forestry graduate of Penn State who retired in 1977 from the Pennsylvania Bureau of Forestry as chief of forest advisory services. He also endowed the Ibberson Chair in Silviculture Research for Pennsylvania and the Ibberson Chair in Forest Resources Management.

The purpose of the chair is to enhance the University's commitment to the Commonwealth by providing a distinguished faculty member in the Department of Ecosystem Science and Management the opportunity to advance scholarly excellence through contributions to instruction, research and public service.

"During two decades of leadership and involvement in Penn State Extension's statewide Urban Forestry Program, Bill Elmendorf has served municipalities, government agencies and volunteer organizations in the areas of urban forest management, public tree maintenance, green infrastructure issues such as stormwater management, and land use planning and regulatory policy," said Michael Messina, head of the Department of Ecosystem Science and Management.

"His research interests have focused on the viability of municipal urban forest management programs and the success of land-use planning and regulatory policy in conserving natural resources," he said. "He also has explored human dimensions such as people's park and landscape preference and behavior, and he was principal investigator for two Pennsylvania Comprehensive Outdoor Recreation Plans.

"His knowledge, experience and record of accomplishment in the field made him an ideal candidate to be the first holder of the Ibberson Chair in Urban and Community Forestry."

In addition to his extension and research responsibilities, Elmendorf teaches both graduate and undergraduate courses in urban forest management and human dimensions of natural resources. He also reorganized the curriculum for the Community and Urban Forestry option within the forest ecosystem management major, and he has led students in the completion of large, computer- and GPS-based municipal street-tree inventories for many Pennsylvania municipalities, including Allentown, Easton, Harrisburg, Ferguson Township, Lancaster, State College, St. Marys and Ridgway.

In accordance with the endowment's guidelines, Elmendorf will pursue the following goals as the holder of the Ibberson Chair:

  • Provide students in the department with advice, courses, internships and other learning experiences that will prepare them for a career in urban and community forestry, and to serve as a role model and source of inspiration for these students.
  • Conduct and publish research in urban and community forestry subfields such as municipal tree management, green infrastructure planning, arboriculture, landscape tree genetics or protection, or related topics.
  • Provide resources via extension educators who offer technical assistance and workshops aimed at improving municipal tree programs, tree commissions and volunteer group activities.
  • Contribute to regional and national scholarship through scholarly study, writing, speaking and outreach activities about the philosophies, principles, policies and practices of urban and community forestry.

Currently the associate editor for the journal Arboriculture and Urban Forestry, Elmendorf has been active in the Society of American Foresters and served as president of the Penn-Del Chapter of the International Society of Arboriculture. He is past chair of the State College Tree Commission and current chair of the Penn State Tree Commission.

Elmendorf holds bachelor's and MBA degrees from the University of Montana and a doctorate from Penn State.

  • William Elmendorf

    William Elmendorf, Ibberson Chair in Urban and Community Forestry

    IMAGE: Penn State

(Media Contacts)

Last Updated October 31, 2017