CORVALLIS, Ore. – Harold J. “Hal” Salwasser, former dean of the College of Forestry at Oregon State University, died at his home in Corvallis Wednesday night (Oct. 15) of apparent natural causes. He was 69 years old.
Salwasser had been an active member of the forestry faculty since stepping down as dean in 2012 after 12 years leading the college. He had planned to retire from Oregon State at the end of December.
“Hal was a wonderful colleague, a respected forester and an engaged Corvallis community member,” said OSU President Edward J. Ray. “His work leading the College of Forestry grew the university’s essential contributions in teaching and research concerning the world’s forests, watersheds, natural areas and the wood products industry.”
Salwasser guided the OSU College of Forestry through a period of immense transition in forest policies and management nationally and globally. He led efforts to maintain forest production while incorporating new concerns about biodiversity, climate change, wildfire, stream health protection, and other issues.
As dean, Salwasser oversaw a forestry program that is more than 120 years old and is consistently ranked as one of the best forestry programs in the country. Today the OSU College of Forestry has an annual budget of some $25 million, with more than a thousand undergraduate and graduate students and an internationally recognized faculty.
Salwasser also directed the Forest Research Laboratory at OSU, which spans a broad range of disciplines, while incorporating social, economic and policy aspects of forests.
Before coming to Oregon State, Salwasser was the chief executive officer of the Pacific Southwest Research Station of the U.S. Forest Service. There he supervised the natural resources research and development of Forest Service activities in California, Hawaii and the Pacific Islands. He previously was regional forester for the northern region of the U.S. Forest Service, which included Idaho, Montana, and the Dakotas.
The Salwasser family has requested that in lieu of flowers, contributions be made to the Hal Salwasser Fellowship Fund through the OSU Foundation.
Plans for a celebration of life will be announced later.