Historical Timeline

Portrait of 15 men from the 1914 Summer Camp

MSU Forestry

  • 1871: In early October, students and faculty at the fledgling Michigan Agricultural College (MAC) fight a forest fire approaching from the north and save the campus.
  • 1873: Dr. William J. Beal establishes an on-campus arboretum, which today is the oldest continuously operated university botanical garden in the United States.
  • 1883: Beal is appointed professor of botany and forestry, making him one of the first faculty members in forestry in the country.
  • 1896: The Beal Pinetum, one of the oldest forest plantations in the state, is established near the Red Cedar River.
  • 1902: The “Forestry Course,” a four-year curriculum in forestry begins in September. E.E. Bogue appointed head of the Department of Forestry.
  • 1904: The first two foresters—George C. Morbeck and Frank H. Sanford—graduate in June from MAC.
  • 1912: C.A. Tyler of Coldwater appointed the first forestry extension specialist in the state.
  • 1914: The Department of Forestry moves into more spacious quarters in the Old Dairy Building (later renamed Chittenden Hall).
  • 1915: The maple syrup demonstration-research project starts in the “River Woodlot,” now known as Sanford Woods. It ran for 50 years.
  • 1925: Dunbar Forest, a 577 acre parcel located 14 miles south of Sault Ste. Marie, is given to Michigan State College (MSC) and becomes the long-time home of the forestry summer camp.
  • 1931: W.K. Kellogg (of cereal fame) gives MSC two eroded farms west of Battle Creek to be used to demonstrate the benefits of reforestation. This world renowned property is known today as the W.K. Kellogg Experimental Forest.
  • 1934:The college nursery, established in 1903, produces tree seedlings for the new Civilian Conservation Corps.
  • 1936: The Chittenden Cabin, a student social hub, is completed on the banks of the Red Cedar River. It was demolished in 1965 to make way for the new Wells Hall.
  • 1939: Fred Russ gives MSC 580 acres of land east of Dowagiac, including Newton Woods, an old-growth hardwood stand that later is listed on the National Park Service Register of Natural Landmarks.
  • 1950: A major reorganization splits off three new departments from the MSC Department of Forestry—Wood Utilization (later Forest Products), Fisheries and Wildlife, and Land and Water Conservation (later Resource Development).
  • 1966: The MSU Departments of Forestry, Forest Products, Fisheries and Wildlife, and Resource Development move into the brand new Natural Resources Building.
  • 1969: The MSU Department of Forest Products is merged back into the Department of Forestry.
  • 1976: Toumey Woods, an old-growth maple-beech forest on south campus, is placed on the National Park Service Register of Natural Landmarks.
  • 1986: The MSU Upper Peninsula Tree Improvement Center (UPTIC) is established near Escanaba.
  • 1992: The MSU Department of Forestry is ranked #3 in the country in a nationwide survey conducted by Penn State University.
  • 2000: MSU Department of Forestry alumnus Fred Arnold establishes the Wood Manufacturing and Marketing Program with a $1 million endowment. The David and Mary Jessup endowment is created to help defray the cost of students attending the forestry spring camp.
  • 2001: In September, the MSU Department of Forestry kicked off its year-long 100th anniversary celebration.
  • 2005: To address the broadening scope of forestry, a new curriculum is offered featuring concentrations in Forest Conservation and Environmental Studies, Forest Resource Management, Forest Sciences, Urban and Community Forestry, and Wood Products Manufacturing and Marketing.
  • 2007: The Chronicle of Higher Education ranked the MSU Department of Forestry as the #3 forest resources/forestry program in the United States.
  • 2016:  MSU is ranked #8 (in the world!) in the Top 10 Universities for Agriculture and Forestry by QS World University Rankings