March 1-3, 2006

 

ITEM 130-1015-R0306                Authorization to Confer the Title of Professor Emeritus of Wildlife Conservation Upon Jack Ward Thomas; The University of Montana-Missoula

 

THAT:                                       Upon the occasion of the retirement of Professor Jack Ward Thomas from the faculty of The University of Montana, the faculty wishes to express its appreciation for his years of dedicated service to the College of Forestry and Conservation, the Department of Ecosystem and Conservation Sciences, the Wildlife Biology Program, and the State of Montana by recommending that the title of Professor Emeritus be conferred upon him by the Board of Regents of the Montana University System.

 

EXPLANATION:                        Professor Thomas retired on December 31, 2005 and the faculties of the Department of Ecosystem and Conservation Sciences and the Wildlife Biology Program have unanimously requested emeritus status for Professor Thomas.  During his tenure he served as the Boone and Crockett Professor of Wildlife Conservation and acted as a senior statesman in the College.

 

Professor Thomas came to The University of Montana after his retirement as 13th Chief of the USDA Forest Service.  Prior to becoming Chief he had served in a research capacity in the Forest Service for over 30 years and he was one of the two most highly graded researchers in that agency.  He had led numerous special task forces for the Forest Service, the Office of the President of the United States, and the US Congress and at the time he was named Chief he was the leading research scientist in the agency.  Upon the Forest Serviceís Centennial Celebration Professor Thomas was recognized as the leading Forest Service Scientist of its first century.  The University of Montana was fortunate to be able to attract Professor Thomas to our faculty.

 

Since joining the UM faculty Professor Thomas has been a superb teacher, scientist, and public spokes person.  He taught both graduate and undergraduate courses to considerable acclaim, mentored several graduate students, gave on average about 25 public addresses on behalf of the University each year, continued to serve on important university and national policy task forces and committees, and served as an advisor to federal agency heads in the Nationís land management agencies.  He is a prolific writer and published numerous papers and books during his time at UM.

 

Especially notable is his book, The Journals of a Forest Service Chief, which is a valuable read for anyone interested in the development of federal land management policy.  In his dealings with faculty colleagues he was supremely gracious and served the role of senior statesman for the whole College.  He mentored young faculty and helped his colleagues work through numerous difficult policy issues.

 

There is little doubt that Professor Thomas has been a significant influence on the programs of the College of Forestry and Conservation.  He brought a considerable reputation to UM and then did everything we asked of him.  Our students were well served as were our faculty and external relationships.  He successfully fulfilled his roles and for this we commend him.  We congratulate him upon his retirement and wish him the very best for his future.