Distinguished Fellows are a recognition society that was born out of Penn State Mont Alto’s 100th Anniversary in 2003 when the campus identified 100 Centennial Fellows — recognizing each of them for their outstanding accomplishments and contributions to their careers and communities after graduating from Penn State.
To continue this tradition in 2007, this recognition society was renamed the Distinguished Fellows Society. Since that time, many alumni have been added to this society. This is a very special group of alumni. The process by which an alumnus may be nominated is online.
The Late John Marker ’47
After graduating from Penn State in 1959, Marker worked for the Hayfork Ranger District as fire control officer and in 1962 began four years as assistant district ranger on the then, Sacramento Ranger District headquartered in Mt. Shasta City, Calif. He later served as district ranger on the Greenhorn Ranger District, Sequoia National Forest, headquartered in Bakersfield, Calif., where he honed his fire management and public affairs skills that would define the rest of his career. Additional assignments included being the first Forest Service public affairs officer in southern Oregon for the Umpqua, Rogue River and Siskiyou National Forests. Later transfers took him to Ogden, Utah, first as assistant director of public affairs and then as fire operations officer. For three years he lived in Washington, D.C. and worked at the US Forest Service’s national headquarters in fire management, developing and managing the first wild land urban interface program, called “Wildfire Strikes Home.” He then worked for Region 6 in San Francisco as director of Public Affairs and retired in 1992.Retirement brought him a second career as an orchard grower in the Hood River Valley of Oregon. He was also a founding editor of the National Association of Forest Service Retirees periodical, The Lookout, and as director of North American Wildfire Ltd, helped found and publish the Wildland Firefighter Magazine.Marker was also an active member of the National Smokejumper Association (NSA) and the National Institute for Elimination of Catastrophic Wildfires and his involvement was instrumental in the development of healthy forest legislation.
Joseph Barnard ’60
At Mont Alto Joseph Barnard was a member of Xi (Kye) Sigma Pi, The Penn State Forestry Society, The Sylvan staff, the Wesley Foundation, and the Ag Student Council.Following graduation, he worked with the USDA Forest Service Northeastern Experimental Station and then returned to Penn State to earn his master’s degree in forest ecology. After serving in the US Army, he again returned to his studies at Penn State for postgraduate work in statistics and ecology under the direction of Professor Wilbur Ward. He returned to work for the Northeastern Forest Experimental Station in Upper Darby, Pa., and became Project Leader of the Forest Survey in 1980.Barnard’s career with the Forest Service spanned more than 35 years in the research division, specializing in forest inventory and forest health issues. In addition, he authored more than 60 research publications focusing on the status and condition of our nation’s forest resources.For 15 years he served as the national manager of the Forest Response Program, which was a Forest Service/EPA joint research effort.Throughout his career, Barnard received numerous awards and recognition for his many contributions to his profession. He also remained active with Penn State by volunteering on numerous committees within the School of Forest Resources. In addition, he and his wife, support their church’s mission efforts and have travelled to help with Post Hurricane Katrina and to El Salvador.
Robert (Bob) Slagle ’58
While at Penn State Mont Alto, Slagle was editor of the Mont Alto yearbook, The Seedling, and played baseball. He also served as editor of Penn State’s yearbook, Sylvan.After graduating from Penn State, Slagle worked for the Kentucky Division of Forestry, where as a Service Forester, he led early efforts on the aerial detection of oak wilt disease in his region and served as crew leader on fire suppression efforts. He joined the US Forest Service in 1961 as forester on the Jefferson National Forest. His primary assignments were timber sales and stand improvement of white pine—missed oak forests. While there, his work earned him a performance award on timber sales and a letter of commendation for wildlife habitat and population surveys. In 1864, he was recruited by the Monongahela National Forest to join their forces as assistant district ranger.Later assignments led to a ten-year position as assistant district ranger for Timber Management and Outdoor Recreation on the Allegheny National Forest in Ridgway, Pa. He served as crew leader to an inter-regional fire team with assignments in Montana and Washington and was editor of the Society of American Forester’s (SAF) Allegheny Section newsletter.In 1977, he advanced his Forest Service career by working for the White Mountain National Forest, which included the development of six new campgrounds, two alpine private sector partnerships with annual visitor capacity of 11,000 skiers…the development of 70 kilometers of Nordic ski trails and 150 miles of hiking trails. Prior to his retirement in 1991, Slagle also wrote the first management plans for the 45,000 acre Pemi Wilderness Area.Slagle also served in his community as a leader in the Boy Scouts of America, as a summer tour guide in the Polar Caves Park, as a group leader to the Silver Streaks Ski Club, and as a volunteer naturalist with the Squam Lakes Natural Sciences Center.Lt. Col. Richard (Dick) Kost ’58, US Army (Ret) — Richard Kost completed his Army ROTC training while at Penn State Mont Alto and secured his commission in 1959. His first tour was with the Sixth Army, 19th Trans Battalion. In 1962, he was deployed to Vietnam. In the second half of his tour, he was responsible for mapping US Army held positions within Vietnam. There his Penn State forestry training proved a tremendous asset. In 1963, he moved to Germany with assignments in guarding the Berlin Wall. In all, he served four tours in Vietnam, additional tours in Germany and returned state side in 1970 where he worked on joint Air Force and Army evaluations of the C5A aircraft. Kost remained in the US Army until his retirement in 1984 with the rank of lieutenant colonel.His military service has been recognized with awards for Army Airborne, the Combat Infantry Badge, the Meritorious Service Medal, the Army Commendation Medal, and the Bronze Star.Over the past four decades, on his home front, now in (Metal) Copperas Cove, Texas, Kost and his wife, work closely with Habitat for Humanity and in leadership in their church — the Immanuel Lutheran Church in Copperas Cove, where his key responsibility is the maintenance and upgrade of the 100-year-old building.
Joseph E. Ibberson ’47 Arboretum Founder’s Tree
Arboretum Founder’s Trees are a special way at Penn State Mont Alto to permanently recognize and honor an individual with a living memorial that is a mature tree specimen living in the Penn State Mont Alto Arboretum. The permanent naming of a Founders Tree is done with a $5,000 gift to the Penn State Mont Alto Arboretum Endowment. That gift then fuels the endowment that helps fund the perpetual care of the Arboretum.
Joseph Ibberson ’47, who retired as chief of the Division of Forestry Advisory Services for the Pennsylvania Department of Conservation and Natural Resources, made generous gifts of land and financial support to the state’s forestry resources preserved hundreds of acres of virgin timber and woodland, including Penn State’s School of Forestry where he endowed three faculty chair positions. Ibberson entered Penn State Mont Alto in 1937 but before graduating took work with a survey crew to complete the Clark’s Valley Dam and Reservoir — a water reservoir for the city of Harrisburg, Pa. He then served as the city forester and later worked as a transport commander during World War II, leaving the military with the rank of captain. He completed his bachelor’s degree in forestry at Penn State and later earned his master’s degree of forestry from Yale University. His career with the state lasted 29 years, where he focused on the management of all state forests, including two million acres.Throughout his life, he invested his personal savings in real estate, stocks, and bonds and generously provided support for many organizations, including Pennsylvania Forestry Association, the Bureau of State Parks, various church organizations, and Penn State’s School of Forestry.The Joseph Ibberson ’47 Founders Tree was generously funded by a few of his friends and colleagues, including Dr. Charles Strauss ’58 and his wife, Carol; Dr. Henry Gerhold; and representatives of the Pennsylvania Forestry Association Dr. Norm LaCasse and Greg Schrum. A mature Pin Oak, Quercus palustris, which sits on the edge of the quad, behind Wiestling Hall, will bare a plaque with his name.