History and Past Presidents

History of the NEWSS

In early 1947, the Director of the Cornell Experiment Station issued and open invitation to all interested parties to participate in a workshop on weed problems and to explore the feasibility of forming an organization of weed workers in the northeast. They convened on the Cornell campus on February 18-19, 1947. Robert D. Sweet of Cornell was the organizer and acting chairperson of the meeting. In attendance, there were 47 participants from colleges, experiment stations, and federal, while 37 were from industry representing 22 companies. State experiment stations represented at the first meeting included: Main, New Hampshire, New York, Massachusetts, Rhode Island, Michigan, Ohio, Pennsylvania, New Jersey and Virginia. The Northeastern Weed Control Conference formally formed on February 19, 1947. The second meeting was held in New York City, January 12-13, 1948 where meetings continued each year until 1973, when the meeting began to rotate to different Northeastern cities. The name was changed to the Northeastern Weed Science Society in 1970. The membership reached a high of over 750 members in the mid-1960s and slowly dropped to about 200 in the mid-1990s, where it is today. The conference supported the weed field days, starting in the mid-1950’s and the first student weed contest “Weed meet” that was held in August of 1983 at the Wye Institute on Maryland’s Eastern Shore.

Extracted from: Northeastern Weed Science Society History 1947-1995, Robert D. Sweet.

History of the NEWSS Gavel

On the Rutgers University campus stood a majestic oak which was named the Kilmer Oak. It is said this oak tree inspired the New Brunswick poet-soldier Joyce Kilmer to write his famous poem “Trees”. The tree died of old age, said to be over 100 years, and was cut down in 1963. Many gavels were made from the oak of this tree, including the NEWSS gavel.


By Joyce Kilmer (1886-1918)

I THINK that I shall never see
A poem lovely as a tree.
A tree whose hungry mouth is prest
Against the earth’s sweet flowing breast;
A tree that looks at God all day,
And lifts her leafy arms to pray;
A tree that may in Summer wear
A nest of robins in her hair;
Upon whose bosom snow has lain;
Who intimately lives with rain.
Poems are made by fools like me,
But only God can make a tree.

Past Presidents

1948-49     Gilbert H. Ahlgren
1949-50     Robert D. Sweet
1950-51     Howard L. Yowell
1951-52     Stephen M. Raleigh
1952-53     Charles E. Minarik
1953-54     Robert H. Beatty
1954-55     Albin O. Kuhn
1955-56     John Van Geluwe
1956-57     L. Danileson
1957-58     Charles L. Hovey
1958-59     Stanford N. Fertig
1959-60     Gordon Utter
1960-61     E. M. Rahn
1961-62     Lawrence Southwick
1962-63     Donald A. Shallock
1963-64     Anthony J. Tafuro
1964-65     Robert A. Peters
1965-66     Gideon D. Hill
1966-67     Richard D. Ilnicki
1967-68     John E. Gallagher
1968-69     John A. Meade
1969-70     Homer M. Lebaron
1970-71     John F. Ahrens
1971-72     George H. Bayer
1972-73     Arthur Bind
1973-74     Ralph Hansen
1974-75     Walter A. Gentner
1975-76     Henry P. Wilson
1976-77     Richard J. Marrese
1977-78     C. Edward Beste
1978-79     James D. Riggleman
1979-80     James V. Parochetti
1980-81     M. Garry Schnappinger
1981-82     Raymond B. Taylorson
1982-83     Stephan Dennis
1983-84     Thomas L. Watschke
1984-85     James C. Graham
1985-86     Russell R. Hahn

1986-87     Edward R. Higgins
1987-88     Maxwell L. McCormack, Jr
1988-89     Roy R. Johnson
1989-90     Stanley F. Gorski
1990-91     John B. Dobson
1991-92     Prasanta C. Bhowmik
1992-93     Stanley W. Pruss
1993-94     Ronald L. Ritter
1994-95     Wayne G. Wright
1995-96     Bradley A. Majek
1996-97     Thomas E. Vrabel
1997-98     Joseph C. Neal
1998-99     David Vitolo
1999-00     Richard A. Bonanno
2000-01     Brian D. Olson
2001-02     Jeffery Derr
2002-03     David Mayonado
2003-04     D. Scott Glenn
2004-05     Robin Bellinder
2005-06     Timothy E. Dutt
2006-07     William S. Curran
2007-08     Renee Keese
2008-09     Jerry Baron
2009-10     David Yarborough
2010-11      Hilary Sandler
2011-12      Mark VanGessel
2012-13     Antonio DiTommaso
2013-14     Dwight Lingenfelter
2014-15     Gregory Armel
2015-16     Rakesh Chandran
2016-17     Shawn Askew
2017-18     Randy Prostak 
2018-19    Carroll Moseley
2019-20    Dan Kunkel
2020-21    Art Gover
2021-22    Caren Schmidt
2022-23    Jacob Barney
2023-24    Wes Everman