The Pennsylvania Turfgrass Council Distinguished Service Award is presented as merited to individuals who have exhibited outstanding service to the turfgrass industry. The award is considered PTC’s highest individual honor and recipients are recognized by the membership in a formal ceremony at the Penn State Golf Turf Conference.
At its annual membership meeting on November 10, 2004, at State College, the PTC Board of Directors announced that the Distinguished Service Award was being renamed to memorialize Dr. George W. Hamilton, Jr., a leading professor and researcher in turfgrass management at Penn State, who died on July 9, 2004, after a courageous year-long battle with cancer. The newly named Dr. George Hamilton Distinguished Service Award will be available for presentation for the first time in 2005.
On Aug. 28, the USGA, the golf turfgrass industry and the Penn State Turfgrass Program lost a dear friend and colleague, Stanley Zontek. To honor his contributions to the golf turf industry and his love for Penn State, Pennsylvania Turfgrass Research Inc. (PTRI) and Penn State named a new endowment the Stanley J. Zontek Turfgrass Endowment.
Several years ago a dedicated group of volunteer turf professionals formed PTRI and launched a campaign to raise funds for turfgrass research at Penn State. This campaign culminated in 2011 with the creation of a $300,000 endowment at Penn State. Following the death of Zontek this year, the board of PTRI and Penn State faculty asked Penn State to name the new endowment the Stanley J. Zontek Turfgrass Endowment.
The Joseph M. Duich endowment was established in 1990 to recognize the contribution of Joseph M. Duich throughout his long and distinguished career as a turfgrass scientist and educator. Because of the dramatically increased consumption of Penncross and other creeping bentgrass cultivars for fairway conversion programs, seed sales nearly tripled for several years during the early 1990s. To conserve these resources and create an income-generating vehicle to provide sustained support for turfgrass research at Penn State, the excess funds were deposited into the endowment and allowed to increase through periodic additions as well as through inter- est and dividend income. Because of Duich‘s efforts as a plant breeder, the turfgrass cultivars he developed have generated royalty income since 1971. Most of these funds were used to support field-plot maintenance and research by Duich and his colleagues; the remainder funded a series of departmental projects. The interest generated by theendowment is now sufficient to fund field-plot maintenance expenditures as well as a full-time staff position assigned to the Valentine Turfgrass Research Center.