Paul Y. Burns
Born in Tulsa, Oklahoma, Paul Y. Burns earned a B.S. at the University of Tulsa in 1941 and began work on an M.F. at Yale University. Enlisting in the Army Air Corps in 1942, he served as a weather officer in Europe during WW II, returning to Yale in 1945 to finish his M.F. and to begin Ph.D. studies in forestry, which he completed in 1949. He began a 38-year career in forestry education in 1948 at the University of Missouri. Seven years later he was recruited by LSU as professor and Director of its School of Forestry, serving for nearly 22 years as Director. Retiring in 1986, he became professor emeritus and was elected Honorary Alumnus by the LSU Forestry-Wildlife-Fisheries Alumni Association. At LSU Dr. Burns regularly taught remote sensing, mensuration and forest policy, and occasionally taught other forestry courses. He taught every B.S.F. LSU graduate from 1956 to1987. A major professor for 20 graduate students, he is author or co-author of 117 publications.
Dr. Burns is sketched in several Who’s Who biographies, including Who’s Who in America, in the South and Southwest, in the World, and in Science and Engineering. A member of honor societies Sigma Xi, Xi Sigma Pi and Phi Kappa Phi, he received the Distinguished Alumnus award from the University of Tulsa in 1974. An active member of the Society of American Foresters since 1946, he was named a Fellow in 1986 and received an award for Distinguished Service to Forestry from the Gulf States Section in 1989. His work in the SAF has included membership chair, secretary, and vice chair of the Ozark Section; historian of the Gulf States Section; chair of the Louisiana SAF; and chair of the national Accrediting and the Definition-of-Forestry committees.
As a community service volunteer, Dr. Burns received the Powell-Reznikoff Humanitarian Award from the Baton Rouge Council on Human Relations, the Wade Mackie Peacemaking Award from the Bienville House Center for Peace and Justice, a Volunteer Activist Award from the Baton Rouge Speech & Hearing Foundation and a Brotherhood Award from the Baton Rouge Chapter of the NCCJ. He founded Operation Hope in 1970, a local nonprofit self-help organization for low-income families, and served as one of its officers for 34 years. He was Chair of the YMCA-YWCA Advisory Board at LSU and the Southwest Faculty Conference; President of the LSU Chapter, AAUP; member of the Human Needs Committee, Baton Rouge Goals Congress; member of the Board of Directors, Louisiana Conference of Churches; Program Chair and General Chair, Mt. Sequoyah Ecumenical Mission Conference; President of the Louisiana Council on Human Relations; Treasurer of the Bienville House Center for Peace and Justice; President and driver for THE FISH organization, providing transportation locally for low-income persons; and adviser, Lao Association of Baton Rouge. He is member of several local and national civic organizations. He has served 54 years as an Elder and 30 years as a lay preacher in the Presbyterian Church.