The turfgrass program at Penn State began in 1929 with a push from outside the institution.

Joseph Valentine and several fellow superintendents from Philadelphia area golf courses traveled to The Pennsylvania State College and made a request directly to the president for the initiation of a turfgrass research and educational program. They stated that they wanted to have their needs addressed the same way farmers were being served through the agricultural programs in place at that time. The president immediately agreed to their request. Within a few days, Burt Musser, a young red clover breeder in the Department of Agronomy, was assigned the responsibility for initiating such a program. In time, this half-time assignment involving a single individual expanded to become one of the largest and most prestigious turfgrass programs in the United States. Today, nine faculty members from the Departments of Crop and Soil Sciences (formerly Agronomy), Plant Pathology, and Entomology, as well as a large number of support staff and graduate assistants, are involved in turfgrass research and education at Penn State.

From the outset, this program was simultaneously committed to research directed at finding solutions to problems encountered in the field, and to an array of educational efforts directed at sharing what was learned with students and constituents within the turfgrass industry. Today, this commitment is as strong as it has ever been. The turfgrass research program includes investigative work in breeding and genetics, edaphology, water quality, plant nutrition, plant-growth regulation, and pest management. The turfgrass educational program is the most comprehensive of its type in the world, encompassing resident, extension, and distance components.

The quality of the turfgrass program at Penn State is not only due to the collective efforts of those who are currently involved but reflects the contributions of those who came before them, beginning with Burt Musser. In this publication, we have attempted to briefly capture the evolution of this program, with particular emphasis on the people who made it happen from its inception to the present day. One of the program's participants, Dr. George Hamilton, made it his personal mission to celebrate the 75th anniversary of this program with the publication of this book. Unfortunately, his life was taken before its completion. This book is dedicated to his memory.

A.J. Turgeon
Professor of Turfgrass Management