George W. Peavy: Friend of Man, Forester of the West, 1869–1951
1869: Born November 12, on a farm near Howell, Michigan.
1895: Received bachelor's degree, University of Michigan. Public school principal, Flint, Michigan.
1905: Received master of forestry degree, University of Michigan. Began work in experimental reforestation for the US Forest Service in California; promoted to forest inspector.
1910: Became head of Forestry Department, Oregon Agricultural College.
1911: Became member of Oregon State Board of Forestry.
1913: Appointed Dean of Forestry, Oregon Agricultural College.
1916: Elected to the Corvallis School Board.
1925: Became supervisor of Oregon Forest Nursery.
1926: Attended International Forestry Congress in Rome, Italy.
1930: Assistant Editor of The Journal of Forestry.
1934: Appointed seventh president of Oregon State College.
1936: Awarded honorary Sc.D. degree, University of Michigan.
1937: Awarded honorary LL.D. degree, Willamette University.
1940: Designated President Emeritus, OSC, and Dean Emeritus, School of Forestry.
1942: Appointed civil defense coordinator, Benton County.
1947: Elected mayor of Corvallis.
1951: Died June 24, in Corvallis, Oregon.
Prior to his arrival at OSC in 1910, Peavy spent five years with the U.S. Forest Service which gave him first-hand experience in experimental reforestation and at surveying trees and forests in California. This photo shows the youthful Peavy on horseback. His travels through the forests of Europe in 1926 gave him a visible reason to campaign for preventive measures to protect the forest lands in America. [OSU Archives #384]
The Dean packed in with the rest of the fernhoppers for one of the yearly spring trips, camping and "cruising" the local forests to tally the quantities of the various types of trees found in mapped sections of forest land. [OSU Archives #384 (with backpack) and P192:294 (camp scene)]
In the MacDonald Forest cabin built by "his boys" in 1935, Peavy found a retreat from his exhausting duties as President of the College (1934-1940), Dean of the School of Forestry (1913-1940), and member of the State Board of Forestry (1911- 1941). He was also active in the Society of American Foresters, the Oregon Community Chest, League of Oregon Cities, Rotary International, Xi Sigma Pi (forester honorary), Phi Delta Theta (service society), the Presbyterian Church, and Masons (Shriners). [OSU Archives #384]
Giving evidence of the esprit de corps of the college foresters, the Fernhoppers Banquet, Arboretum Day, and other highlights of the year, such as the 1926 dedication of Peavy Arboretum, were featured along with forest research articles in the Annual Cruise, the Forestry Club's yearbook, first published in 1920. The cover of the 1935 issue was made of thin wooden veneer. [OSU Archives PUB 10-12a.]
Peavy wrote several pamphlets during his 30-year tenure with the State Board of Forestry. [OSU Archives MC- Peavy]
In a direct contrast to his favorite forest atmosphere and forester garb, Peavy frequently appeared, formally dressed, in lecture halls and auditoriums to deliver his inspiring and prophetic speeches about the importance of forest conservation to audiences varying from loggers to lawmakers. During his 30-year tenure as the leader of forestry research and instruction at OSC, Peavy attracted the support of many patrons including Mary J.L. McDonald. Her gifts established the instructional and research forests and provided scholarship funds and interesting additions to the library collections. [OSU Archives #75]
To prepare students "to accept the challenge of the changing social and economic order" was Peavy's goal as an educator. By 1940 when Peavy retired from the college, degrees had been conferred on 634 forestry students. The forestry graduates of 1930 posed with Peavy at graduation. [OSU Archives #384.]
Larger image and list of graduates
Remaining active in his later years, in 1947 Peavy was elected Mayor of Corvallis. The Dodge was a congratulatory gift from the fernhoppers. A 41-year resident of Corvallis, Peavy continued as mayor until his death in 1951. [OSU Archives #384]