MSU alumnus named Forest Service chief

By: Karen Brasher

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Posted: 8/22/2017

MSU alumnus named Forest Service chief Photo By: Submitted

A 1983 Mississippi State University forestry alumnus is the new chief of the U.S. Forest Service.

Tony Tooke will lead the national agency responsible for the management and protection of 154 national forests throughout the nation.

A Detroit, Alabama, native, Tooke's career with the U.S. Forest Service began at age 18 and continued through his collegiate days. He most recently served as regional forester for the Southern Region of the USDA Forest Service. Prior positions included associate deputy chief for the National Forest System, director of ecosystem management coordination, deputy director of economic recovery, and assistant director of forest management.

When making the announcement, U.S. Secretary of Agriculture Sonny Perdue said, "The Forest Service will be in good hands with the agency's own Tony Tooke whose forestry knowledge is unmatched. Tony has been preparing for this role his entire professional life and his transition into leadership will be seamless."

Perdue added, "No doubt, the stewardship of our forests is an awesome and sacred responsibility, and no one knows that better than Tony who has dedicated his career to this noble cause."

Prior to 2006, Tooke held several positions throughout the South, including deputy forest supervisor for the National Forest in Florida, district ranger in Alabama, Georgia and Mississippi and forester in Kentucky.

"We are proud of Tony and are confident that he will manage our national forests for productivity and health," said George Hopper, dean of the College of Forest Resources. "Tony is a great example of the leadership roles our alumni are engaged in throughout the United States. The forestry major prepares students to lead in conserving and managing our natural resources."

Established in 1954, the Mississippi State University College of Forest Resources offers undergraduate and graduate majors in forestry; natural resources and environmental conservation; sustainable bioproducts; and wildlife, fisheries and aquaculture. To find out more about the College of Forest Resources, visit

Deans Office