GAINESVILLE, Fla. – The learning center located in the UF/IFAS Austin Cary Forest was recently renamed the Roland T. Stern Learning Center. In late January, the School of Forest Resources and Conservation hosted a ceremony to unveil the facility’s new name.
Lucinda Stern made a significant gift in her late husband’s honor to support the learning center and SFRC scholarships.
“I have always said Roland would bleed sawdust,” Lucinda Stern said. “He always worked in some form of forestry. Growing up he worked with his dad at his sawmill. After graduating from high school, he went to UF’s forestry program in Lake City. It was not a hard decision to make this gift in honor of him to the School of Forest Resources and Conservation.”
After graduating from Bradford High School in Starke, Florida, Roland Stern attended Forest Ranger School in Lake City, Florida and graduated in 1960. In 1985, he was one of a group of men who formed Great South Timber, Inc. He retired from Great South Timber and Lumber, Inc. as president in 2015.
“We are very pleased the Stern family has chosen to celebrate Mr. Stern and his love for forestry by giving to the learning center, Austin Cary Forest, and our students,” said Red Baker, SFRC director. “Their transformational gift to the SFRC ensures the learning center will be a first-class educational facility for our community forever, and highlights the Sterns’ commitment to the next generation of foresters who will follow in Mr. Stern’s footsteps.”
Stern’s gift ensures funds are permanently available for the learning center’s upkeep and to further educational initiatives at the Austin Cary Forest. Additionally, her gift creates undergraduate and graduate scholarships for UF/IFAS College of Agricultural and Life Sciences (CALS) students who hail from Bradford, Union, Baker or Columbia counties, and are studying forest resources and conservation.
“It is an exciting time to be getting an education in forestry,” Stern said. “I hope the undergraduate scholarships will make it possible for some young person to study forestry. I hope the graduate scholarships will make it possible for someone to launch out into some of the new fields of forestry.”
It is Stern’s overall desire that her gift will open Austin Cary Forest’s educational opportunities to everyone who has a desire to experience “the woods” in an area preserved for future generations.
For more information about the Roland T. Stern Learning Center, please visit http://sfrc.ufl.edu/forestcampus/. For information about the Stern scholarships, contact Kristina Haselier, SFRC undergraduate academic adviser, at firstname.lastname@example.org or 352-846-0847.
The mission of the University of Florida Institute of Food and Agricultural Sciences is to develop knowledge relevant to agricultural, human and natural resources and to make that knowledge available to sustain and enhance the quality of human life. With more than a dozen research facilities, 67 county Extension offices, and award-winning students and faculty in the UF College of Agricultural and Life Sciences, UF/IFAS works to bring science-based solutions to the state’s agricultural and natural resources industries, and all Florida residents. Visit the UF/IFAS web site at ifas.ufl.edu and follow us on social media at @UF_IFAS.