Scholarship supports foresters of tomorrow

UAlberta donor honours her father, renowned forester Peter Murphy, with student award

By Anna Holtby - 18 November 2020

Barb Eberlein, ’91 BSc(HEc), created the Dr. Peter J. Murphy Award in Forestry to honour her dad’s 70-year career and support the next generation of foresters.

This year marks the 50th anniversary of the University of Alberta’s forestry program. And, while the community celebrates this milestone, they also mourn the loss of one of the program’s leaders.

Peter Murphy was instrumental in launching the U of A’s forestry program in 1970 and served as a professor and associate dean for 23 years. Murphy passed away in late October 2020, at 90 years old — shortly after the filming of the video above.

“Being a part of the U of A forestry program was exhilarating,” he said during filming. “I was just so impressed with our students. [They] were just such wonderful people with a diversity of opinions and interests and capabilities. They've been internationally competitive and contributing.”

His daughter, Barb Eberlein, ’91 BSc(HEc), is honouring her father’s commitment to both forestry and education with the Dr. Peter J. Murphy Award in Forestry — a scholarship to support students in the field of sustainable forestry management.

“Through scholarships, you help students become who they want to become,” says Eberlein. “With climate change and wildfires, it's going to become more and more important that we have these young experts coming along.”

The U of A’s forestry program focuses on teaching forest management techniques that ensure sustainability.

The creation of this award was especially meaningful for Murphy, who received a scholarship during his undergraduate degree that ignited his passion for academics. He hoped the scholarship in his name would do the same for others.

“The main thing is that it would provide an incentive for somebody else. And maybe that somebody would pass it forward in the same spirit.”

 To make a gift in memory of Peter Murphy, the family welcomes donations to the Dr. Peter J. Murphy Award in Forestry.