Dr. John E. Kuser

John E. Kuser graduated with a degree in chemistry from Princeton in 1946, after serving as a landing boat officer in the navy during World War II.  He worked as a chemist for 23 years before pursuing a career in forestry.

Kuser earned an M.S. in Horticulture and Forestry from Cook College, Rutgers University in 1976, and then a Ph.D. in Forest Science from Oregon State University in 1980.  Upon his return to New Jersey, he began teaching at Cook College.  Affectionately referred to as “Doc” by his students, he taught Dendrology, Forest Ecology & Silvics, and Urban Forestry.  During this time, he studied the genetics of pitch pine and Atlantic white cedar (amongst others), travelled extensively to study trees on several continents, and wrote extensively on issues related to urban & community forestry.

Dr. Kuser was an active member of the Society of American Foresters, NJ Forestry Association, and the International Society of Arboriculture.  He was extremely generous in donating his time, serving in various positions within Princeton Township, the Stony Brook-Millstone Watershed Association, the Forestry Advisory Committee to the Pinelands Commission, and the NJ Fish and Game Council.  He was also instrumental in the passage of the NJ Shade Tree and Community Forestry Assistance Act in 1996, providing liability protections and incentives to municipal shade tree commissions who meet certain standards.

He was also an avid gardener, fly fisherman, and hunter.  His love of the outdoors was palpable, and his long strides while hiking challenged many of his students to keep up with him during field tours — even into his 70’s.  He owned a Tree Farm in Hopewell Township, Morris County and was the NJ Outstanding Tree Farmer of the Year twice.  He later sold a conservation easement on that property, permanently preserving it.

“Doc” retired from Cook College in 2001, and endowed the John E. and Eleanor W. Kuser Endowed Faculty Scholar Fund in Urban Forestry in 2003.  He passed away in 2008.