Raymond J. Penn Fund

This graduate student scholarship fund was established in memory of Raymond J. Penn, Professor of Agricultural Economics, internationally recognized scholar of land economics and the founder and first director of the Land Tenure Center.

Penn had a keen interest in the institutions that shape rural life in the Third World. He helped to organize the International Conference on Land Tenure and Related Problems of World Agriculture in Madison in 1951. It was the consensus of that conference that a center to study land tenure issues be founded somewhere outside of the Third World. Penn championed this cause for many years, and in 1962, secured funding to establish the Land Tenure Center. He served as first director until 1965. Penn brought keen insights to bear on the natural resource problems of the state, the nation and the world.

He was committed to the “Wisconsin Idea” of service. Governors, state legislators, and national leaders in many other countries sought his advice. Along with other UW colleagues, he developed a pioneering concept in resource development and planning which ultimately resulted in the creation of the State Department of Natural Resources. As a direct result of Penn’s work, Wisconsin led the nation in natural resource administration. Penn was instrumental in developing many new state environmental and conservation programs, in the spirit of what we know now as the environmental movement. He also had an interest in rural land use zoning and planning, especially as it affected the public forest system. Penn had an abiding interest in the lives and careers of graduate students with whom he worked. He maintained close relations with scores of them throughout his life.