CORVALLIS, Ore. — A Northwest family with more than 40 years in the golf business has donated $1 million to endow a faculty position in turf management at Oregon State University. The N.B. and Jacqueline Giustina Professorship in Turf Management will help recruit a top faculty member to the program established by Tom Cook, who is planning to retire in fall 2008. The gift was a decision by the Giustina family to honor the late Nat Giustina, a 1941 OSU graduate, lifelong golfer and owner of an Oregon timber business.
“I am deeply grateful to Nat’s wife Jackie and the entire Giustina family for honoring Nat in this way,” said Cook. “Nat was always our strongest supporter from the day I arrived at OSU. This generous gift will ensure our turf program will continue to meet the challenge of educating future superintendents who can produce outstanding playing surfaces for the public and enhance the unique environmental benefits that golf courses can provide urban areas.”
Under Cook’s direction, OSU’s turf management program has earned national recognition. In 30 years at OSU, Cook has lead the development of new grass mixes that require less water and chemicals and devised new approaches to making golf courses environmentally “green” without compromising functionality, rigor and form. The turf program has also produced graduates who have served as superintendents of prominent golf courses all over the West Coast and beyond, including Bandon Dunes, Pebble Beach and Pronghorn. For his many contributions, Cook was honored with the Distinguished Service Award by the Golf Course Superintendents Association of America in 2006.
The Giustinas’ gift is a major boost to a fundraising effort to benefit the turf management program, in anticipation of Cook’s upcoming retirement. Started by the Oregon Golf Course Superintendants Association and its foundation, the fundraising drive includes support from the Oregon Seed Trade Association, Northwest Turf Grass Association, Oregon Turf and Tree Farms, as well as several other individual supporters. OSU’s College of Agricultural Sciences is seeking additional gifts to grow an endowed fund to provide resources for the turf program’s research, education and outreach activities.
“OSU’s turf management program has a proud history of producing research and graduates that are leading the way in the golf industry,” said Thayne Dutson, dean of the College of Agricultural Sciences “The critical support from the Giustinas, the OGSCA and many others will ensure that this legacy continues to grow in the future to build on the stature of the program that Tom Cook established.”
In the mid-1960s Giustina established the Tokatee Golf Club near his cabin on the McKenzie River in Blue River, Ore. The club, which is still a family business headed up by Nat’s son Larry Giustina, has been ranked as one of Oregon’s best courses by GolfWeek and Golf Digest. Nat Giustina was also a long time volunteer for OSU and served 25 years on the OSU Foundation Board. In the 1980s, he was the primary catalyst and lead donor behind the effort to create the Trysting Tree Golf Club, a championship 18-hole golf course in Corvallis, Ore., the proceeds of which benefit OSU.
“Golf was one of my father’s greatest loves, and he had strong ties to Oregon State University ever since he graduated,” said Larry Giustina. “He would be very pleased with this gift.”
The turf management professorship was part of a larger $4 million gift by the Giustina family in support of The Campaign for OSU, the university’s first campus-wide fundraising campaign; the other portion of the Giustinas’ gift will create an endowed professorship in forest management.