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The Legacy

The turfgrass program at Penn State has a proud tradition of serving the turfgrass industry, and boasts an impressive list of “firsts”.

The turfgrass program at Penn State has a proud tradition of serving the turfgrass industry, and boasts an impressive list of “firsts.” Initiated in 1929 through the efforts of committed clientele, it was one of the first turfgrass programs in the nation. It was the first to employ a turfgrass extension specialist (1934), the first to graduate a Ph.D. turfgrass scientist (1950), the first to offer a two-year technical program specifically for golf course superintendents (since 1957), and the first to offer an undergraduate major in turfgrass science (since 1992). But being first is not all that counts; it is the quality of the program that really matters. Some evidence:

  • The Penn State turfgrass program is internationally recognized as a leader in research that provides timely solutions to management problems concerning practitioners. This has culminated in strong extramural support and commitment from the industry.
  • Penn State is a world leader in the development of improved turfgrass varieties and other products, including PennMulch, Pennfine ryegrass, and several bentgrasses that are considered to be industry standards: Penncross, Penneagle, Pennlinks, and the new “A ” and “G ” series bentgrasses.
  • Turfgrass program faculty have received numerous regional and national awards for excellence and innovations in turfgrass science.
  • To date, more than 1,800 people have graduated from Penn State ’s turfgrass program. They have gone on to occupy the most prestigious jobs in the turfgrass industry.
  • M.S. and Ph.D. students from the Penn State graduate education program are sought after by industry and university employers nationwide.
  • The Penn State commitment to turfgrass education reaches beyond the classroom. In the form of annual conferences and workshops, faculty help professionals pursue lifelong learning and keep current in an increasingly complex world.
  • The turfgrass teaching program was the first to offer courses through Penn State’s World Campus, an innovative new approach to distance learning using the Internet