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Chapter 6: Endowments, Scholarships, and Fellowships

Over the years, a variety of scholarships and fellowships have been made available to both undergraduate and graduate students in Penn State's turfgrass program. These fellowships and scholarships have made it possible for hundreds of students to receive a quality Penn State education and go on to contribute significantly to the turfgrass industry.

Musser Foundation

The Musser International Turfgrass Foundation, a nonprofit organization that raises money to support excellence in turfgrass research through graduate student awards, was established in 1969 after the death of Penn State turfgrass researcher H. Burton Musser.

Each year, the Musser Foundation presents the Award of Excellence—a plaque and about $20,000—to the most outstanding Ph.D. candidate in his or her last year of graduate study in turfgrass management. Applications are sent to all turfgrass programs in the United States and Canada, and rigorous academic standards narrow the selection down to four or five candidates. The Foundation's grant committee evaluates each application independently, and the chair determines the best score. Today the Foundation has assets of about $700,000. “Burt Musser not only directed his energy toward research, but he used it to train and educate the next generation,” says Frank Dobie, superintendent and general manager of the Sharon Golf Club in Ohio and Foundation president since 1988. “This Foundation that bears his name is dedicated to continue supporting the next generation of leaders.”

Joseph M. Duich Endowment

The Joseph M. Duich endowment was established in 1990 to recognize the contribution of Joseph M. Duich throughout his long and distinguished career as a turfgrass scientist and educator. Because of the dramatically increased consumption of Penncross and other creeping bentgrass cultivars for fairway conversion programs, seed sales nearly tripled for several years during the early 1990s. To conserve these resources and create an income-generating vehicle to provide sustained support for turfgrass research at Penn State, the excess funds were deposited into the endowment and allowed to increase through periodic additions as well as through inter- est and dividend income. Because of Duich's efforts as a plant breeder, the turfgrass cultivars he developed have generated royalty income since 1971. Most of these funds were used to support field-plot maintenance and research by Duich and his colleagues; the remainder funded a series of departmental projects. The interest generated by the endowment is now sufficient to fund field-plot maintenance expenditures as well as a full-time staff position assigned to the Valentine Turfgrass Research Center.

Pennsylvania Turfgrass Council

The Pennsylvania Turfgrass Council presents scholarships to undergraduate students in Penn State's four-year turfgrass science program. For several years, the Council has provided eight $2,000 scholarships for four-year turf majors. Scholarships are awarded based solely on grade point average.

George W. Hamilton, Jr., Graduate Fellowship and George W. Hamilton, Sr., Undergraduate Scholarship

In 1998, an anonymous donor contributed $150,000 to the College of Agricultural Sciences to create an endowed graduate fellowship in the Department of Crop and Soil Sciences for students studying turfgrass science. The fellowship was named in honor of the late George W. Hamilton, Jr., then assistant professor of turfgrass science. The fellowship is available to any M.S. or Ph.D. student in turfgrass science and can be used for travel support to professional meetings and/or stipend enhancement.

Hamilton and his wife, Becky, donated $25,000 to endow a scholarship for undergraduate and certificate program students enrolled in the turfgrass science program. The George W. Hamilton, Sr., Memorial Scholarship in Turfgrass Science is named in memory of Hamilton's father, who was a golf course superintendent and professional golfer. The endowment provides annual scholarships to students interested in turfgrass science and who are avid golfers.

Waddington/Harper Scholarship (KAFMO)

The Waddington/Harper scholarship is awarded by the Keystone Athletic Field Managers Organization (KAFMO) each year to turf students in Pennsylvania who have an interest in sports turf. Recipients are chosen based on academic transcripts, references, and how they articulate their desire to become a sports turf manager. A chapter of the National Sports Turf Managers Association, KAFMO is dedicated to improving the safety of playing fields.

Penncross Bentgrass Growers Association (Tee-2-Green)

The Penncross Bentgrass Growers Association, located in Hubbard, Oregon, has awarded more than $220,000 in scholarships since 1974. These scholarships are awarded to students pursuing a career in the turf industry. Scholarships are awarded each year in conjunction with the Golf Course Superintendents show.

GCSAA Watson Fellowships Program

The Watson Fellowships Program identifies and recognizes outstanding postgraduates who have the potential to contribute significantly to the turfgrass industry. Applicants are evaluated on criteria such as academic excellence, peer recommendations, communications skills, and research or education accomplishments. The Toro Company helps sponsor this fellowship program.

Greater Pittsburgh Golf Course Superintendents Association

The GPGCSA scholarship program seeks to identify tomorrow's leading turfgrass professionals by awarding scholarships to turfgrass students who exhibit leadership qualities. Scholarships are awarded based on grades, extracurricular activities, letters of recommendation, and qualities such as motivation and self-discipline.

Mountain & Valley Golf Course Superintendents Association

Fourteen years ago, the Mountain & Valley Golf Course Superintendents Association introduced its “Scramble for Research,” with the goal of establishing a vehicle for collecting and distributing monies and gifts for scholarships and research. A portion of each year's Scramble is dedicated to scholarships that will aid in the education of potential leaders within the profession. Scholarship applicants must be currently enrolled or accepted by a college in a turfgrass-related field. Included with the application is a brief letter stating why the applicant wants to study turf and how this scholarship could help. A Mountain & Valley GCSA member must sponsor the applicant and submit a letter of recommendation.

Trans-Mississippi Turf Scholarship

This scholarship program grants more than $50,000 in scholarships each year to young men and women pursuing careers as golf course superintendents or in other areas of turf management.

Duff Shaw

The annual Duff Shaw Classic Golf Tournament, named in memory of 1987 two-year class alumnus Duff Shaw, co-sponsors a Penn State scholarship. This scholarship is also sponsored by the Penn State Turfgrass Alumni Club and it is awarded to one student per year in the Two-Year Golf Course Turfgrass Management Program.