Barlow, Enebak receive endowed professorships in Auburn’s School of Forestry and Wildlife Sciences

Published: September 21, 2020
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Two faculty members in Auburn University’s School of Forestry and Wildlife Sciences have received endowed professorships. Professors Becky Barlow and Scott Enebak are now the Harry E. Murphy Professor of Forest Measurements and Management and the Dwain G. Luce Professor of Plant Pathology, respectively.

The appointments take effect this semester and will continue for three years.

Barlow is an expert in the areas of forest measurements and management, agroforestry and small-woodlot management. She also is the coordinator for the Alabama Cooperative Extension System Forestry, Wildlife and Natural Resources team, or FWNR, at Auburn.

 “I am honored to be selected, and I will use this opportunity to continue my work in forest management extension while expanding the reach of the entire Forestry, Wildlife and Natural Resources team,” Barlow said of the new professorship.

She plans to partner with the FWNR team members, Alabama Extension communicators and other natural resource professionals to investigate opportunities for alternative and improved approaches to content delivery.

“Some specific ideas I would like to explore include the development of additional FWNR online extension courses and videos, the development of an FWNR Extension podcast and a study of how women and minority landowners respond to FWNR Extension program advertising,” Barlow said.

Enebak, who also is the associate dean of academic affairs in the school, said that for him the new professorship is significant, both professionally and personally.

“It is quite an honor to be named to the Luce Professorship,” Enebak said. “I knew Mr. Dwain Luce personally and professionally through his interactions with School of Forestry and Wildlife Sciences before his passing in 2007. I even had the opportunity to instruct his granddaughter, Sarah, in a couple of courses at Auburn. She was just as passionate about learning as he was about undergraduate education.

“With this endowed professorship, I will continue to demonstrate Mr. Luce’s strong commitment to students’ education in forestry and serve as a positive role model for their continued success,” he added.

The Harry Murphy Dean’s Enhancement Fund for Excellence in the School of Forestry and Wildlife Sciences is a permanent endowment that was established in the Auburn University Foundation by the estate of the late Harry Murphy.

Murphy was a forestry graduate from Pennsylvania State University and a World War II veteran who took his first job as a forester with the Tennessee Valley Authority in Sheffield, Alabama.

In 1952, he partnered with John Bradley, who owned a small forestry consulting firm. With Murphy as vice president and Bradley as president, that small firm would develop into Resource Management Services, or RMS, now an internationally known forestry consulting firm, one of the largest such firms in the U.S.

The company is an independent, employee-owned manager of forest investments and provides comprehensive timberland investment services to pension funds, endowments, foundations and family offices. It is established as an independent advocate for timberland owners.

Because RMS employs so many Auburn forestry graduates and uses research that is developed at the School of Forestry and Wildlife Sciences, it was natural for the school to create this fund for excellence to honor both Murphy and his company.

The Dwain Luce Endowed Professorship of Forestry in the School of Forestry and Wildlife Sciences also was also established in the Auburn University Foundation to provide a professorship within the school. Along with his wife, Margaret, Luce previously provided funds to endow an undergraduate scholarship and funded the Student Services Suite in the School of Forestry and Wildlife Sciences Building.

Luce, a Mobile native and a 1938 Auburn graduate, was a decorated World War II Normandy veteran who served in the 82nd Airborne Division; his wartime story was told in the Ken Burns documentary, “The War.”

After the war, Luce became a bank loan officer specializing in forestland purchases and eventually became a business leader, serving as founding director of First Mississippi Corporation and the Bank of Mobile, former director and president of the Mississippi Export Railroad, former president of First Alabama Bank Group Holdings and former senior executive vice president of First National Bank.

Luce was a member of the School of Forestry and Wildlife Sciences Advisory Council and Campaign Development Team. Because of his continuous support of the university, Luce was tapped for membership in Auburn’s 1856 Society.

To determine the recipients of both new professorships, a search committee of three endowed professors in the School of Forestry and Wildlife Sciences—Mark Smith, Tom Gallagher and Daowei Zhang—recommended Barlow and Enebak for the positions after reviewing numerous applications.

School of Forestry and Wildlife Sciences Dean Janaki Alavalapati accepted the committee’s recommendations and sent them to Auburn Provost Bill Hardgrave, who approved the appointments.

“These two newly endowed professors are outstanding faculty members in the School of Forestry and Wildlife Sciences,” Alavalapati said. “Drs. Barlow and Enebak were exemplary choices for these honors.”

(Written by Teri Greene)

The Auburn University School of Forestry and Wildlife Sciences is a flagship institution for natural resources-based degrees including natural resource management, geospatial and environmental informatics, and sustainable biomaterials and packaging. The school is also the backbone to Alabama’s $24 billion forest, wildlife, and natural resources industry. Its mission is to create future professionals and leaders, to develop new knowledge and science-based solutions, and share them with individuals, families, communities, and industries so that they can make informed decisions to advance their business and well-being.