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Alumnus Dick Reid Leaves Legacy in Forestry

Dick Reid, a 1960 alumnus in forestry who spent his life in the forestry profession, passed away in July 2020, but he left a legacy for Purdue students to follow with the creation of an endowed scholarship for forestry students.

Reid’s career took him across the United States from Washington and Idaho to California, Maryland and Indiana and back to Washington. His work as a consultant planning international forestry tours for the Society of American Foresters also took him to Finland and Scotland amongst other places.

Reid was a member of Bill Banzhaf’s executive team at the Society of American Foresters, acting as the director of meetings and conventions, in addition to the foreign travel he did toward the end of his career.
Richard Reid in the 1960 Log book
“Dick was always upbeat and did a great job; he was a real positive force on the executive team,” Banzhaf, former CEO of the SAF recalls. “I think one of the important things is that he really connected with the membership. When you are running a large membership organization like the professional organization for foresters, which at the time had close to 20,000 members, there is the possibility of a schism between the national office and members who live across the country. Dick was always very good at making sure the connection to and reputation of the national office was a really positive one. He always felt that the professional society should be member driven and he made sure that was the case with SAF.”

As part of his position, Reid was responsible for putting together the organization’s national convention, which served between 1,500 and 2,000 individuals.

“The convention takes a great deal of organization and the members are very involved,” former colleague Barbara Wietzer said. “Dick had a very good talent for working with the SAF members, without whom there wouldn’t be an annual meeting. Dick not only had to deal with the staff and all of their questions, but also with hundreds of members carrying out the volunteer aspect of it. He was extremely well organized. He was a very nice gentleman who was on the quiet side, but who was able to work with many different personalities. I remember him as being someone who always knew the answers or knew how to get the answers. He had a lot of things at his fingertips. You just looked at him and you knew you were going to get the right answer. Dick had a passion for SAF and always wanted to make certain that things were done well.”

With SAF, Reid also worked in conjunctions with several partner organizations and professional societies, like The Wildlife Society, the Fisheries Society and other natural resources organizations.

Reid guided the foreign tours for foresters later in his career, sharing his passion and enjoyment for both travel and forestry.

“Dick had a love for travel, for education and for connecting foresters to a larger world,” Michael Goergen, Vice President of Innovation and Director of P3Nano, who was the director of forest policy under Banzhaf said. “He did a lot of work organizing events for foresters to travel abroad. Those trips were educational and brought a lot of foresters abroad to learn about different cultures and their forest practices. That built on the work he did organizing the national convention, which facilitated the continuing education of thousands of forest professionals. Dick was always generous with his time, especially in retirement as he volunteered for his professional society at a local and national level.”

The Richard G. Reid Scholarship in Forestry, was first awarded for the 2019-2020 school year. Amy Hanners was the inaugural recipient, followed by Mae Watson (2020-21).

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