The S. J. & Jessie E. Quinney College of Natural Resources

The History of the College

The College of Natural Resources has grown from small beginnings in 1891 when Utah State University first began offering courses in ecology, economic botany, economic zoology, forestry, and forage spread across several departments.  Today the College offers a variety of courses to a diversity of students with a strong commitment to promote healthy, diverse, and enduring ecosystems upon which human communities depend.  Thanks to the strong commitment and dedication of the College's past and present faculty, students, and staff to the betterment of our natural world, the College has developed a variety of programs and majors to instill lifelong learning in the students at Utah State University.

The College of Natural Resources first began as a series of courses offered in range management and forestry developed by Raymond J. Becraft from 1918 - 1927.  In 1927 a four year curriculum in Range and Forestry was listed in the University catalog.  Only a year later in 1928, the Department of Forestry and Range Management was established with Lyle Watts as the department head.

In 1933 the Department of Forestry became the School of Forestry which included the departments of Forestry and Range Management, with Wildlife Management added in 1934.  The School of Forestry was given full status with Paul Dunn as Dean and later named in 1957, the College of Forest, Range, and Wildlife Management with two majors: Forest Recreation and Watershed Management. 

The College became the College of Natural Resources in 1968.  The Environmental Studies major was added in 1972.  The Natural Resources building, where the college is currently housed, was completed in 1983. In 1992 the S. J. & Jessie E. Quinney Natural Resources Library was completed. 

The College reorganized its departments in 2002 from Fisheries and Wildlife; Forest Resources; Geography and Earth Resources; and Rangeland Resources into three departments: Aquatic, Watershed, and Earth Resources; Environment and Society; and Forest, Range, and Wildlife Science.  Aquatic, Watershed, and Earth Resources and Forest, Range and Wildlife Science were renamed Watershed Sciences and Wildland Resources in 2006.

On September 26, 2012 the College was renamed the S. J. & Jessie E. Quinney College of Natural Resources.

Today the College offers twelve undergraduate degrees and a variety of graduate programs dedicated to excellence in research.  With over 300 students, the College continues strong in its commitment to scholarship and discovery.

Mission Statement

The S.J. & Jessie E. Quinney College of Natural Resources at USU:

  • Promotes scholarship and creativity in discovery, synthesis, and transfer of knowledge for the mutual sustainability of ecosystems and human communities in Utah, our country, and the world.
  • Encourages critical thinking and collaborative problem solving through debate and constructive criticism while ensuring open exchange and respect for the values and opinions of others.
  • Engages a high-quality, diverse and creative faculty, staff and student community, who collectively integrate the biological, physical and social sciences, and who constantly expand their knowledge and skills.
  • Educates natural resource and environmental professional and others interested in healthy ecosystems and their value for future generations.