Alumni Focus


On the 50th anniversary of the Fifth International Forestry Congress, Gary Shirley, ’55, reminisces about his participation in this historic event. Held at the UW in 1960, it was the first World Forestry Congress held in the Western Hemisphere and, to date, the only one held in the U.S.  UW campus events connected with the Congress involved many UW forestry faculty and included the inauguration of the International Friendship Grove on Campus Parkway, at which trees representing the 65 participating nations were planted. 

With nearly 2,000 participants, the 10-day Congress necessitated a lot of planning and logistical support.  Shirley, on loan from the Snoqualmie National Forest, worked in the Congress’ public information section where he recalls, “I had a Cadillac assigned to me so that I could pick up VIPs at Sea-Tac Airport.  I also took part in planting the Friendship Grove.”

Says Shirley, “Henry Schmitz in his history of forestry at the UW, The Long Road Traveled, wrote that the Congress, ‘…more than any other single event exemplifies the long road traveled by the College of Forestry from the initial offering of one course in general forestry by the University of Washington in 1894 to the international reputation for excellence in forestry research and education held by the College today …’"  With its focus on the multiple use concept of forest management, the Congress exemplified the need to integrate social, economic, and ecological perspectives into the quest for sustainable natural resources. 

After graduating in 1955 with a BS in forest management, Shirley’s career path has included working for the U.S. Forest Service, followed by a long career with the Internal Revenue Service.  Says Shirley, “I first worked for the Forest Service on the North Bend District, during the summer of 1952, as the lookout on Granite Mountain. Other alums working there that summer were Bob Torheim, ’48, and Don Rush, ’56.  After graduation I worked as a transit man for an eight person survey crew in the Snoqualmie National Forest, where I worked with my classmate Carl Willrich, ’55; we worked mainly on the Mineral Ranger District, where Ben Harrison, '66, was district clerk.  Six months later I entered the military as a lieutenant in the Corps of Engineers, where I spent over three years, mostly in Germany; serving with me was another ’55 forestry alum and Forest Service employee, Ed Petrone.  Returning to the Snoqualmie National Forest in 1959, I worked as a district engineer on the White River District and then on the Skykomish District, where I was the federal inspector for the development of the Spada Lake Hydro-Electric Project on the Sultan River. My district rangers were Harry McCormack, '40, and John Sarginson, '31.

Shirley and Petrone both transferred to the U.S. Department of the Treasury as engineer revenue agent-foresters for the Internal Revenue Service. Says Shirley, “At one time our boss was Mort Lauridson, ’39, who also spent most of his career as a timber valuation engineer. We audited the forest products industry on tax issues related to the purchase of timberland and the growing and harvesting of timber.  Most of our work dealt with large national and international timber corpora-tions, and our recommendations usually resulted in millions of additional tax dollars due.  It was an interesting job, although stressful at times. One of our coworkers was Joann Cutler, ’81, who is now supervisor of IRS foresters and engineers in the Pacific Northwest and Hawaii.”

Following his retirement from the IRS in 1988, Shirley has remained an active supporter of UW forestry.  He served as editor of the alumni newsletter Washington Forester for six years, and from 1997-1999 was president of the College of Forest Resources Alumni Association and a member of CFR’s Visiting Committee.  His generosity helped establish the Distinguished Alumni Seminar Series, showcasing alumni leaders in the private, public, and nongovernmen-tal sectors in the U.S. and abroad. Shirley also consulted for the U.S. Justice Department’s Tax Division, where he helped prepare cases for trial in the U.S. Court of Federal Claims.  Before moving from Shoreline to Stanwood, Washington in 2005, he was a commissioner for the Ronald Wastewater District, serving the Shoreline area, and in 2001was honored as Commissioner of the Year by the Washington Association of Sewer and Water Districts.

Says Shirley, “I’ve had a great career, and found that my UW education prepared me well.  My wonderful wife, Judy Schlosser, MSW ’65,  and I have been married for 44 years; we have four grown children, all doing well.  I know there are some people who resent the fact that I worked for the IRS, but I feel I always treated everyone fairly and only tried to make sure everyone paid their fair share of taxes.  Now in full retirement, I’m active in my church and am always planning our next trip.”

FRAA FAll celebration

Catching up on news at the November FRAA annual event are Deborah Brown, '07 and Carrie Lee, '07. Photo: Ramona Hickey.

The UW Forest Resources Alumni Association (UW-FRAA) held its annual meeting on November 6, 2010 at the UW Botanic Gardens Center for Urban Horticulture.  Following the successful 2009 change in format, the meeting was followed by an informal reception that gave participants an opportunity to interact and to learn about SFR through posters and displays that featured teaching, research, and outreach activities.   Outstanding food and a jazz band contributed to the lively atmosphere.  Awards presented at the reception included Honored Alumnus Award to American Forest Resources Council Vice President Ann Forest Burns ('71);  Lifetime Achievement Award to University of California Professor Emeritus John Helms (’60); Excellence in Teaching Award to Professor David Ford; and Honorary Alumnus Award to Robert Harris, Founder and Chairman of the Board of Harris Group, Inc. and longtime supporter of the Washington Pulp and Paper Foundation.


The Estate of Morten J. Lauridsen, Jr., ’39, has donated $597,000 to establish the Morten J. Lauridsen, Jr. Endowed Scholarship Fund in SFR. The endowment will provide scholarship support to undergraduate and graduate students pursuing forest resource science studies, with specific emphasis on principles of sustained yield forest management. Lauridsen ("Mort" to his many UW friends) remained close to his alma mater over the course of his lifetime and his generous charitable bequest capped a lifetime of giving spanning more than a half century.  The scholarship joins the SFR endowment established in 2008, the Morten J. Lauridsen, Jr. Endowed Fund, a discretionary fund to address the "most pressing" SFR needs, as a legacy of Mort's generous and comprehensive support for SFR.









Alumni news

Gordon Livingston, ’71, directs the Livi Cytogenetic Biodosimetry Laboratory at the Oak Ridge Institute for Science and Education in Oak Ridge, Tennessee.

Steven Amstrup, ’72, is senior scientist for Polar Bear International in Bozeman, Montana.  He recently retired after 30 years as the U.S. Geological Survey team leader for the U.S. effort to study the polar bears of the Southern Beaufort Sea.

Steven Sweeney, '78, is a wildlife health specialist and senior analyst at the USDA’s Centers for Epidemiology and Animal Health in Fort Collins, Colorado.

Kevin Cole, '81, is chair of Grand Valley State College’s Department of Geology in Allendale, Michigan.

Diane Converse, '82, is director of the Pratt Museum in Homer, Alaska.

Colin Hardy, 83, is program manager for the U.S. Forest Service’s Fire, Fuel, and Smoke Science Program at the Missoula Fire Sciences Laboratory in Missoula, Montana.

Heather Hanover, '85, and Karl Hanover, '87, '85, own and operate Hanover’s Chocolate Mints in St. John, Michigan.

Devra Jarvis, ’85, is a senior scientist with Biodiversity International in Rome, Italy.

Erik Anderson, ‘87, ’84, is chief executive officer of Louis Dreyfus Commodities’ North American Region in Wilton, Connecticut.

Douglas Steinberg, ’90, is deputy regional director for West Africa for Helen Keller International, a nonprofit working to prevent and treat blindness in Africa.

Byron Monohon,’93, was elected mayor of Forks, Washington to a six-year term that began in January 2010.   

Amy (Clark) Eagle, '95, is program leader for the Michigan Department of Natural Resources Biodiversity and Conservation Program in Lansing, Michigan.

Richard Ferrero ,'98, is deputy director of the U.S. Geological Survey's Western Regional Office in Seattle, Washington.

Scott Bodien, ’99, is technology director, working with GIS, for the Catawba Lands Conservancy in Charlotte, North Carolina.

Daniel Gavin, ‘00, ‘97, is assistant professor in the University of Oregon’s Department of Geography in Eugene, Oregon.

Jason Niebler, ’03, is director of the Sustainable Agriculture Education Program at Seattle Central Community College in Seattle, Washington.

Ray Larson, '05, was recently appointed president of the Northwest Horticultural Society in Seattle, Washington.

Stephanie Peterson-Martin, ’06, is a forester and the acting forest manager for the Makah Tribe in Neah Bay, Washington.

Lisa Ciecko, ’09, is a forest assessment coordinator for the Cascade Land Conservancy in Seattle, Washington.

Jane Atkins, '10, is a program associate in sustainable agriculture for Scientific Certification Systems in Emeryville, California.

Jana Dilley, '10 is program manager for the City of Seattle's Green Seattle Initiative in Seattle, Washington.

Sonja Lin, '10, is a progam specialist for the USDA Forest Service’s Strategic Planning and Performance Accountability Office in Washington, DC.

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