Landscaper from Cook College has tree named in his honor

<p>The tree memorializing Vasvary is a Parrotia persica tree, planted in May 5, 2000. It is located in front of Blake Hall on the Cook campus, according to the Department of Entomology's website.</p>

The tree memorializing Vasvary is a Parrotia persica tree, planted in May 5, 2000. It is located in front of Blake Hall on the Cook campus, according to the Department of Entomology's website.


A tree in front of Blake Hall memorializes Dr. Louis M. Vasvary, who was a retiree from Cook College (now known as School of Environmental and Biological Sciences) for his dedication and hard work to help the landscape, tree and ornamental industry here in New Jersey, according to the Department of Entomology's website.

He died on May 22, 1999, according to the website.

Before retirement, he was an extension specialist for more than 30 years and an officer of the New Jersey Shade Tree Federation (NJSTF), an organization dedicated to assisting those individuals and agencies entrusted with the selection, planting and care of trees, according to the NJSTF website.

As an extension specialist, he had broad responsibility for insect pests of households, landscape (trees, shrubs and turfgrass) and non-mosquito insects affecting humans (e.g. lice), according to New Jersey Mosquito Control Association (NJMCA) newsletter.

The tree memorializing Vasvary is a Parrotia persica tree, planted in May 5, 2000. It is located in front of Blake Hall on the Cook campus, according to the Department of Entomology's website.

His influence has spread beyond Rutgers, as he was a great friend to mosquito control in New Jersey — “one who fully recognized the complexity of our profession, dealing as it does with a multitude of species, habitats and control options,” according to the newsletter.

Vasvary had retired in 1994, but before his retirement he had received a multitude of awards ranging from recognition in research, scholarships as well as achievements from the New Jersey Chapter of the International Society of Arboriculture (NJISA), New Jersey Pest Management Association (NJPMA), New Jersey Christmas Tree Growers’ Association, NJ Shade Tree Federation (NJSTF), Rutgers Cooperative Extension and New Jersey Turfgrass Association. He also was honored by the Rutgers Turfgrass Alumni Association, according to the newsletter.

Aside from his professional work, Vasvary was in the army in 1952, serving in both the 45th Infantry Division and 933rd Anti-Aircraft/Automatic Weapons Battalion during the Korean War, according to the newsletter.

His education foreshadowed his successes later as an entomologist. After the conclusion of his military career, he entered graduate school at Rutgers where he earned a master’s degree and then a doctorate. His doctorate thesis was done with Dr. John Schmitt as an advisor. 

Schmitt, a renowned morphologist and teacher, was the first entomologist to detect DDT resistance in houseflies in the 1940s, according to the newsletter.

People who knew Vasvary, said he was an avid fisherman and for many years and even taught an undergraduate course at Cook College called "Entomology for Anglers," which focused on insects that are the food of and a lure for fish. 

George Hamilton, a doctorate and extension specialist in pest management, professor of entomology and chair in the Department of Entomology who spoke at the ceremony when the tree was planted, said, “He was also a great fisherman and taught a course during the 80s that I teach now entitled 'Entomology for Anglers.'”

Having a tree memorializing a person is not that common at Rutgers. “I am not sure about plants but there are some benches around Cook College that have plaques on them honoring others,” Hamilton said.


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