CORVALLIS, Ore. – Thomas Maness, the Cheryl Ramberg-Ford and Allyn C. Ford dean of the College of Forestry at Oregon State University, passed away Thursday, July 12, in Corvallis. He was 63.
Maness had served as the college’s dean and director of the Oregon Forest Research Laboratory since 2012. He arrived at Oregon State in 2009 to serve as head of the Department of Forest Engineering, Resources and Management.
“Thomas will be greatly missed,” said OSU President Ed Ray. “Under his leadership, last year the College of the Forestry was declared the second best college of forestry in the world. Thomas’ effective and strong aspirational leadership of the College of Forestry helped guide many key decisions and served to advance the university, our environment and the wood products industry.”
Maness was dean of the college through a period of expanded fund-raising and the planning and construction of the new $79.5 million Oregon Forest Science Complex. The 95,000-square-foot project encompasses the George W. Peavy Forest Science Center as a new home of the College of Forestry, as well as the A.A. “Red” Emmerson Advanced Wood Products Laboratory and Richardson Hall.
“Thomas carried forward a long tradition of leadership excellence and advances in OSU’s College of Forestry,” said OSU Provost and Executive Vice President Ed Feser. “His stewardship in expanding the college through the new Oregon Forest Science Complex will serve students, research and OSU’s outreach and engagement mission for many future generations.”
Prior to arriving at OSU, Maness’ career included work in the private sector as well as higher education. He spent a decade in private industry as a research engineer focusing on forest planning and optimizing manufacturing within sawmills.
In 1994, Maness founded the Canadian National Centre of Excellence in Advanced Wood Processing at the University of British Columbia and led the design and implementation of an award-winning undergraduate manufacturing technology program. Working closely with industry, he conducted research in sawmill optimization and real-time quality control systems. In 2004, he founded the British Columbia Forum on Forest Economics and Policy, and during his academic career conducted research in forest policy, land-use planning and sustainable forest management.
Maness earned his bachelor’s degree in forest management from West Virginia University; a master’s in forest operations from Virginia Tech; and a PhD in forest economics from the University of Washington.
In January, the university announced that Maness would begin an approximate six-month change in responsibilities to attend to personal health matters. Executive Associate Dean Anthony S. Davis has served as acting dean since that time.
About the OSU College of Forestry: For a century, the College of Forestry has been a world class center of teaching, learning and research. It offers graduate and undergraduate degree programs in sustaining ecosystems, managing forests and manufacturing wood products; conducts basic and applied research on the nature and use of forests; and operates more than 15,000 acres of college forests.