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SUNY Board of Trustees honor former ESF President Ross Whaley

President Emeritus


The State University of New York Board of Trustees bestowed the title of president emeritus on Dr. Ross S. Whaley, former president of the State University of New York College of Environmental Science and Forestry (ESF), during its regular monthly meeting in Albany.

Whaley was president of ESF from 1984 to 2000. He then served as a SUNY University Professor before being appointed last year as chair of the Adirondack Park Agency, which regulates land use in the 6-million acreAdirondackPark.

Thomas F. Egan, chair of the SUNY Board of Trustees, commended Whaley for his years of service to the university system.

"Ross Whaley's leadership is one of the reasons the College of Environmental Science and Forestry has become known as the best institution in the nation for environmental science," Egan said. "The national reputation for academic excellence earned by the College of Environmental Science and Forestry adds luster to the reputation of the entire State University of New York. I am very pleased to honor Ross Whaley and I thank him for his many years of distinguished and exemplary leadership at the State University of New York."

SUNY Chancellor Robert L. King said Whaley's dedication to the college and expertise in natural resources management and development helped ESF develop a reputation for excellence.

"ESF, as the college is known, is well regarded throughout the world for the excellence of its academic programs and the research conducted by its faculty and students," King said. "Dr. Whaley was an excellent citizen of the State University throughout his presidency, serving his college and his community with distinction."

The SUNY board voted on the appoinment Tuesday, Oct. 26.

Whaley was appointed president of ESF April 1, 1984, and served in the position until May 15, 2000, when he stepped aside and Dr. Cornelius B. Murphy, Jr., took over as college president. Murphy told the SUNY trustees that Whaley is recognized as an "international person of prominence" in his field, and that the college greatly benefited from his leadership.

Before joining ESF, Whaley was director of forest economics research with the U.S. Forest Service in Washington, D.C. He also has held teaching and administrative positions at the University of Massachusetts, Colorado State University, and Utah State University.

During his tenure as president, Whaley oversaw ESF's physical expansion, including the construction of the Edwin C. Jahn Laboratory. He led a major campus renovation program that included significant upgrades to the Ranger School in Wanakena and the Hugh P. Baker Laboratory. Also, during his tenure, a number of interdisciplinary and cooperative academic programs were created, including initiatives in writing, biotechnology, renewable materials and science education.

Off campus, Whaley held leadership positions in a number of public and professional service activities, including president of the Society of American Foresters and board member of the Pinchot Institute of Conservation Studies. In 2001, the institute honored him with its Pinchot Medallion, which is presented to distinguished leaders in natural resources conservation.

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