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Thomas L. Watschke, Ph.D.

Interim Director, 2007-2008

While at Penn State, Tom (Professor of Turfgrass Science) advised undergraduate turfgrass science majors and coordinated the undergraduate turfgrass science program in the Department of Plant Science. He taught both resident and World Campus courses in many aspects of turfgrass management. Watschke's research concerned the evaluation of plant growth regulators and the entire spectrum of herbicides for use in turfgrass management systems. Research into the management of Poa annua as a desired golf course species was an ongoing and long-term project. In the area of water quality, Watschke was involved in an interdepartmental project (crop and soil sciences, plant pathology, entomology, agricultural engineering, and horticulture participating) to study the effects of fertilizers and pesticides on the quality of water emanating from turfgrass surfaces. Other research areas included turfgrass physiology, turfgrass establishment methodology, and the evaluation of bio-stimulants. Watschke, who joined the Penn State faculty in 1970, received his Ph.D. in agronomy from Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University in 1971, M.S. in agronomy from Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University in 1969, and B.S. in horticulture from Iowa State University in 1967.

In 2007, Dr. Watschke was hired back by Penn State to serve as Interim Director of the 2-year program.  Moving back to the State College region from Florida, Tom quickly was absorbed back into the routine of teaching at the University. Following the graduation of the 2008 class, Dr. Watschke officially retired from resident education at Penn State.