Alumni in the News News

June 17, 2013 at 3:21 pm

Yellowstone, Bears, Fly Fishing—History Alum Brings Park to Life

“On a sunny and memorable day in 1979, I stood in the post office in Manchester Center, Vermont, and unwrapped the package containing the advance copy of my first book, Old Yellowstone Days. As I stood there staring at it in wonder, I realized that with its publication I had already amounted to more than I ever expected to; from there on out, anything I did would be for extra credit,” writes Paul Schullery ’77MA as he introduces readers to his nature books.

“Much to my surprise and continuing delight, there have been many more books since then,” he says. Dozens and dozens of books. He’s divided them into five categories on his website: Yellowstone, Wilderness and Parks, Bears, Fly Fishing, and Fiction.

Ohio University President Roderick J. McDavis congratulates Paul Schullery on receiving an Honorary Doctor of Literature on May 3.

Ohio University President Roderick J. McDavis congratulates Paul Schullery on receiving an Honorary Doctor of Literature on May 3.

In 1972, Schullery says he lucked into a summer seasonal job as a ranger-naturalist in Yellowstone National Park. “The meaning and passion he discovered there set the course of his life as a student of natural history and the human relationship with nature, and as a writer on a variety of related subjects,” says his biography.

“Turns out the national park has a lot of history,” he told the Newark Advocate on June 16. “I just lucked into it….I’m not sure I’ll ever be more proud of anything than getting to wear the uniform and badge of a park ranger,” he said. “I still marvel that I was lucky enough to do that.”

He spent six summer and three winters at Yellowstone. After earning an M.A. in American History at Ohio University’s College of Arts & Sciences in 1977, he become the first executive director of the American Museum of Fly Fishing, in Manchester, VT. His career turned to writing, and in the summer of 1988, “during the famous Yellowstone-area fires of that summer,” he returned to Yellowstone.

“Over the course of the next 20 years, Paul held a succession of positions with the National Park Service, all combining historical research and writing with the communication of information about the park’s internationally significant (and controversial) management issues. He retired from the National Park Service in 2009, but continues to write on a variety of topics,” says his bio. He can currently be found as Library Scholar in Residence at the Special Collections and Archives of Montana State University.

And on May 3, Schullery was back on campus at Ohio University, receiving an Honorary Doctor of Literature. Executive Vice President and Provost Pam Benoit read the citation:

An acclaimed author and graduate of Ohio University, you have made your mark through a professional writing career dedicated to wildlife and its conservation. As an author, editor or contributor for more than 65 books about history, nature and outdoor sport, the profound breadth and depth of your works have earned you distinction among writers.

Your focus on national park policy has been credited with significantly improving science-based resource management in national parks. This encompasses your celebrated film endeavors and your tireless leadership as founding editor of Yellowstone Science, the quarterly magazine of Yellowstone National Park’s research and resource-management program. Widely recognized for your contributions to conservation history, national park policy, the understanding of wildlife, and the cultural relevance of outdoor sports, you have been honored by many notable organizations in your field, including Wildscreen International, the George Wright Society, and Phi Alpha Theta, the national history honorary.

In addition to your numerous publications, you are profoundly dedicated to the development of future conservationists. You achieve this through your current work at Montana State University’s Renne Library, where your duties include lecturing and advising students and assisting with the development of the library’s renowned collections in regional history and fisheries.

Your passion and regard for the natural world continues to inspire many different audiences. And your influence on conservation management epitomizes the potential of committing oneself and one’s work wholly to a cause.

In recognition of your achievement and by virtue of the authority of the Board of Trustees, Ohio University confers upon you the honorary degree Doctor of Literature, with all the rights and privileges pertaining thereto.

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