Professor H. Burton Musser led the Turfgrass management research and teaching program at Penn State University for three decades. Shortly after his death in 1969, a group of his friends and associates conceived the idea of establishing a foundation that would foster and support exceptional students destined to become the leaders of the turfgrass industry. They understood that the future of Turfgrass Science depended on well-trained, dedicated people to lead the research and education programs.
Dr. Joseph M. Duich, Warren A. Bidwell, Eberhard R. Steiniger, Albert W. Wilson II, and Dr. Fred V. Grau founded the H. B. Musser Turfgrass Fellowship. The Musser International Turfgrass Foundation became the title name of this non-profit, tax-exempt corporation. The by-laws were ratified on November 14, 1969. Dr. Grau became its first President, a post he held for twenty years. In 1989, D. Frank Dobie succeeded Dr. Grau as President and retains that post today.
The intention of the Foundation is to recognize and honor doctoral graduate students in Turfgrass Science and related disciplines without partiality to region or special interest. The Board has 24 directors representing the diverse aspects of the turfgrass industry. All Directors serve without pay.
The Foundation's goal is to accumulate a principle fund large enough to generate sufficient interest income to annually present an “Award of Excellence” and a significant financial gift to the best doctoral candidates who, in the final phase of their graduate studies, demonstrated overall excellence throughout their doctoral program. The premise of the fund was set forth so that the principle would remain intact, and the financial awards could only be made from the interest and dividends generated.
Donations have come from fund-raising golf tournaments, individuals, corporations, turfgrass associations, foundations and superintendent's associations. Awards and operational expenses are derived only from the interest and dividends generated annually by the principle fund so it grows and remains a permanent endowment. Our operational expenses are minimal because the Foundation owns no property and has no paid employees.
The criteria for selecting award recipients are based on, but not limited to, the graduate student's work, academic record, dissertation, publications, leadership and extracurricular activities. To date, awards have been granted to doctoral students who have received their Ph.D. in Turfgrass or related sciences from Universities including; Arizona, Auburn, Cornell, Georgia, Maryland, Minnesota, Nebraska, North Carolina State, Ohio State, Penn State, Purdue, Michigan State, Rutgers, Tennessee, and Texas A & M.