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Youngs honored by French university for accomplishments

By Lynn Davis

Spectrum Volume 21 Issue 13 - November 19, 1998

A Virginia Tech professor received the first honorary degree ever given in France in the field of wood science last month.
Robert L. Youngs was awarded a degree of Docteur Honoris Causa at the Universite Henri Poincare--Nancy 1 in September in Nancy, France. It was given by the Ministry of Education of France through the university at a special ceremony honoring five people from the fields of science and medicine.
The degree was based on Youngs' accomplishments and international leadership in wood science, as well as with his cooperation with Nancy and other French universities.
The Ecole des Eaux et Forets (Nancy's School of Waters and Forests) has a long history of education in forestry. Gifford Pinchot, the first chief of the U.S. Forest Service, went there in 1989 to study forestry before there were any such schools in the United States.
Both the Ecole des Eaux et Forets and the Ecole National Superieur des Technologies et Industries du Bois (ENSTIB) are closely affiliated with other schools of the university for research in the sciences and engineering related to forestry and forest products.
Youngs is editor of Wood and Fiber Science and the Journal of the Society of Wood Science and Technology. He came to Virginia Tech in 1985 as a professor in wood science and forest products and was instrumental in initiating courses in world forestry and agro-forestry.
He received degrees in forestry and wood technology from Syracuse, University of Michigan, and Yale. His first career was in the U.S. Forest Service where he was director of the Forest Products Laboratory in Madison, WI, for 10 years, director of the Southern Forest Experiment Station, and a member of the Chief of the Forest Service's staff.
Youngs also worked at the Forest Products Division of the International Union of Forestry Research Organizations (IUFRO), the world's major international coordinating body for forestry research world wide. He was given Honorary Membership, which is IUFRO's highest honor, and is still active in the union.