UW News

October 4, 2007

Hinckley is first to hold David R.M. Scott Endowed Professorship

Thomas Hinckley, professor of forest ecology at the UW College of Forest Resources, is the recipient of the college’s new David R.M. Scott Endowed Professorship in Forest Resources, Dean B. Bruce Bare has announced.

“Tom has established an international academic career, yet has retained strong links to regional forest and environmental issues,” said Bare. “His work with the UW’s international IGERT has fostered new collaborations for the UW and encouraged students in a deeper understanding of global environmental challenges. His work with tribal forestry and natural resource leaders in the Pacific Northwest has extended to his establishment of a UW faculty-staff matching endowment for a Yakama Nation natural resources scholarship.”

From China to Canada, Germany to Japan, Hinckley has traveled the world to learn more about plants and how they affect the environment. In his 35 years as an environmental teacher and researcher, he’s studied everything from crop plants like tomatoes and soybeans, to fast-growing plants such as hybrid cottonwood trees, to very old plants like 500-year-old Douglas-fir trees. His work focuses on understanding the factors affecting the survival and growth of plants, particularly trees. He is especially interested in how trees acquire and use water, how they control the amount of water they lose, and what makes soil too wet or dry for them.

At the UW College of Forest Resources, Hinckley has served in many leadership positions, including acting dean, departmental chair, and most recently, director of the Center for Urban Horticulture from 1999-2004.

He earned a bachelor’s degree in biology from Carleton College in 1966 and a doctoral degree in forest eco-physiology from the UW in 1971. He also holds an honorary doctoral degree from the Agricultural University of Vienna.

The professorship allows the college to recruit, retain, and reward distinguished faculty who conduct research and teaching in the area of sustainable management of forest resources, including the study of silviculture and forest ecology. The endowment was established with $250,000 in gifts from alumni, colleagues, and friends in memory of the late Professor Emeritus David R. M. Scott, a legendary faculty member whose 30-year teaching legacy includes the mentoring of 34 PhD and 63 master’s students.