Sometimes when you work on a magazine, there’s a news story that touches the heart of everyone who reads it. For the GCM staff, that story was the news of the death of James Christopher (Chris) Stiegler and his wife, Jenny, who died in an automobile accident on Dec. 24, 2010. Their infant daughter survived.
In August, only a few months before his death, Stiegler started his academic career as a newly minted Ph.D. and assistant professor of turfgrass ecology and physiology at Texas A&M in College Station. He had received his B.S. and M.S. degrees in turfgrass management at Oklahoma State University and had worked as an assistant golf course superintendent at Wichita (Kan.) Country Club and as a Cooperative Extension Agent in Oklahoma. He completed a Ph.D. in turfgrass science at the University of Arkansas in May 2010. He was also a longtime GCSAA member.
Even before Stiegler’s funeral, Richardson shared his thoughts with Greg Bell, Stiegler’s professor at Oklahoma State and with Richard White, Stiegler’s colleague at Texas A&M,and others. Everyone he contacted that an appropriate memorial to Stiegler would be something that would help graduate students progress in their careers.
The C5 (Turfgrass Science) Division of the Crop Science Society of America (CSSA) has announced that “As a way to honor Chris’s major contributions to the C5 Division of CSSA as a graduate student and to further encourage future scholars to participate in our meetings, a fund has been established . . .to award travel grants each year to deserving graduate students in the C5 Division of CSSA. This will be an endowed fund and awards will be made to a minimum of two students each year (initially proposing $500 per student) to offset travel expenses to the meeting. Additional awards will be made pursuant to appropriate funding.” The C5 Division hopes to be able to make two awards this year to graduate students who wish to attend the annual meeting in San Antonio, Texas, in October.
To fully fund the endowment, the C5 division needs to raise a minimum of $25,000. If you would like to support this activity, donations can be submitted either by check or through a secure, online form. To submit a check: Make checks out to ASF (Agronomic Science Foundation) and indicate that the check is for the “Chris Stiegler Graduate Student Travel Fund,” Send checks to: ASF, 5585 Guilford Road, Madison, WI 53711. To submit a secure, online donation, select the “Chris Stiegler Graduate Student Travel Fund” from the dropdown list on the CSSA foundation website.