Henry “Hank” Chamberlin

Henry “Hank” Chamberlin

Hank Chamberlin devoted his life to the timber and forestry industry and is known as the “Father of Forestry Education” in Arkansas. He founded what is now the School of Forestry and Natural Resources at the University of Arkansas at Monticello. Chamberlin launched the forestry program with a mere three students in 1945 and remained as head of the school until 1972. He continued teaching until his retirement in 1980.

A native of Pennsylvania, Chamberlin obtained an undergraduate degree in forestry from Penn State University and a master’s degree from Yale University in 1940. That same year he joined the faculty at Louisiana State University and eventually became head of the forestry program there. In 1945 he left LSU for Arkansas to establish the forestry program at what was then Arkansas Agricultural and Mechanical College, and later became the University of Arkansas at Monticello. The School of Forest Resources remains the only forestry school in the state.

It became a four-year program in 1950 and in 1984 the Society of American Foresters gave it full accreditation. In 1995, the building that housed the School of Forest Resources was named the Henry H. Chamberlin Forest Resources Complex in his honor. A faculty member of the department once said it is there, “where growing genetically superior trees on private commercial tree farms has become a mixture of science and art.” She paid tribute to Henry Chamberlin for being an “inspiration to forestry students” since founding the program. Numerous foresters are graduates of the school and one of them became chief of the U.S. Forest Service.

Chamberlin served on the State Board of Registration for Foresters from 1971-1980 and as chairman of the board the final two years. In 1981 he was selected as a Fellow of the Society of American Foresters and in 1994 was an inaugural inductee into the Arkansas Forester’s Hall of Fame.