Fly-fishing pioneer brings expertise to Penn State DuBois
DuBois – As part of the recent Penn State DuBois spring health fair, University Park's Mark Belden provided a few tips for anglers.
When it came to choosing a topic to feature at the spring health fair, and with final exams just around the corner, campus nurse Libby Hoover thought fly-fishing tips would educate others about how to participate in this relaxing sport. According to campus Chancellor Anita McDonald, many recognize Penn State as a leader in women's basketball and Big Ten football, but the university also has a long history in the sport of fly-fishing.
Penn State student George Harvey began to instruct others in fly-fishing when he was still a student during the 1930s. According to information provided by University Park, his talents in fly-fishing and fly tying caught the attention of the Dean of the College of Agriculture who encouraged other faculty to attend Harvey's class, becoming the first noncredit course in fly-fishing at any United States academic institution. By 1947, Harvey, then a faculty member, began to offer fly-fishing as a credit course, again the first in the nation.
Over the next 26 years, Harvey taught more than 35,000 undergraduates and adult learners how to fly-fish in Pennsylvania's limestone streams and conducted more than 72 Penn State Cooperative Extension classes and 42 angling clinics. Harvey received a number of state and national awards for his efforts, but he is perhaps better known for having hosted both President Eisenhower and President Carter on their fishing trips to Pennsylvania streams.
The October 2, 2002, issue of "Sports Illustrated" magazine ranked Penn State as having the best fishing class in the nation, calling the three-course fly-fishing series first taught by Harvey in 1947 "a perfect mix of fun and education." Belden now instructs all sections of the famous class at University Park.
Garden and travel tips, chair massages and a Harley Davidson display were some of the other relaxing activities featured at the health fair, along with regular health screenings.
For more information on Penn State's fly-fishing course, search the term "fly-fishing" on Penn State's main webpage, found at http://www.psu.edu/.
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