Remembering Dick Skok (1928-2018)
Richard “Dick” Skok passed away on Sunday, September 30, 2018 in his home in Roseville, MN. Dick started his career in forestry at the University of Minnesota as a research assistant in 1953, followed by tenure as a professor until he was appointed as the dean of the College of Forestry and later the College of Natural Resources. His research focus was on understanding economic and policy aspects of Minnesota’s forest products industry, from landowners to loggers to the primary forest products firms. Under his leadership, the University’s forestry program rose to national and international prominence, owing to his external focus as a dean. He represented the U of M and sometimes the United States on forestry-related trips abroad to countries including Yugoslavia, India, Italy, Sweden, Philippines and Morocco. In his letter of support for naming Skok Hall, former dean Al Sullivan, wrote, “Merely stating the variety of posts he held and the longevity of Dick’s tenure does not adequately reveal the depth of his contributions.”
Professor Emeritus Paul Ellefson remembers Dick as someone who “worked without expectation of recognition. He willingly looked out for the general good of students, staff, faculty and the citizens of Minnesota. If recognition came, his view was: so be it; I didn’t seek it.” Ellefson also recounts that Dick had a heart for helping people succeed, “He gave people a chance at success regardless of their personal or professional circumstances. He saw the underlying potential in people, not their shortcomings.” Former department head Alan Ek comments that “Dick Skok was especially concerned that our students receive a top notch education overall and in our field.” He will be dearly missed.