Fellowship Honors Retired Agriculture Research Teacher
By Jody Record, Campus Journal Editor
September 26, 2007
George Frick explains the success he had during his 35 years working
with UNH graduate students this way: he picked the smart ones. And the
way the retired adjunct professor tells it, they all were.
But that’s making his job sound easy. The reality is, the agricultural
economist was dedicated to the students he got to know through teaching
and advising, going so far as to bring them home for dinner because he
knew they didn’t have very much money. Sometimes he would go dig
oysters and then give them to the students, or take them hunting or fishing
on Great Bay and let them keep the catch.
Those are just a few examples of the acts that led former students and
colleagues to honor him with the establishment of the George “Curly” Frick
Endowed Fellowship for Resource Economics, which Frick learned about
last week during a celebration at the Elliott Alumni Center.
“I figure I can lie down and die now,” Frick says of the
Sept. 20 evening. “This is quite an honor, particularly because
I wasn’t a regular faculty member; I was an adjunct. And here I
thought I was mean to all those grad students.”
Hardly. Several former students who attended the honorary event spoke
of all Frick had done for them. Many traveled great distances to be there.
Some, Frick says, became emotional when they got up to speak.
“They had these stories of how I saved them; of how they were
ready to give up,” Frick says. “I had no idea at the time.
I’d be on these thesis committees and I’d yell at them, trying
to make them better.”
Frick taught resource economics in the College of Life Sciences and
Agriculture from 1957 to 1992 while also serving as an economist with
the U.S. Department of Agriculture. In the past, it was common practice
for the federal agency to place their people at land-grant schools to
collaborate on research projects.
He was also instrumental in launching the university’s Institute
of Natural and Environmental Resources (INER), a multi-disciplinary program
in wildlife, forestry, soils, hydrology and resource economics.
The Durham resident was 28 years old when he first came to UNH in 1948
on a joint appointment with the university and the Department of Agriculture.
He worked with his first graduate student in 1954. That man, now 75 years
old, has become a friend.
“He comes up and stays with me twice a year,” Frick says. “I
had another one that’s a farmer with 6,000 acres. They’re
all smart. I was lucky. That’s how you do it; you pick smart people
and you succeed.”
During his lengthy career, Frick worked to preserve and renew natural
resources for industry, agriculture and recreational use while inspiring
and mentoring students.
The first Frick fellow will be named next year. Thus far, the fund exceeds