John Rosenow '71 BS AGEN of Lincoln, chief executive officer of the Arbor Day Foundation, was inducted into the college's Department of Biological Systems Engineering Hall of Fame, which also includes outstanding graduates of UNL's Agricultural Engineering and Mechanical Systems Engineering programs.
Rosenow is the founder of the million-member Arbor Day Foundation, which has been responsible for planting more than 200 million trees around the world. He is the 28th inductee to BSE's hall of fame since the department began honoring outstanding accomplishments of graduates or associates in 1995.
Under Rosenow's leadership, the Arbor Day Foundation, in cooperation with the U.S. Forest Service and the National Association of State Foresters, created the Tree City USA community forestry program which today includes 3,400 towns, cities and military bases in all 50 states.
The foundation also is responsible for Tree Line USA (a public utility program), the Rain Forest Rescue program and Arbor Day Farm's Lied Lodge (an international conference center dedicated to education and conservation). Through the Nature Explore program, established in collaboration with Dimensions Education Research Foundation, the helps create Nature Explore Classrooms in child care centers, schools, parks and nature centers throughout the country.
Rosenow serves on the boards of Keep America Beautiful and Lincoln's First-Plymouth Church Foundation. He was honored in 2001 as part of UNL Masters' Week. In 2006, with the Dimensions Foundation and others, he helped found the Nature Action Collaborative for Children of the World Forum Foundation.
Rosenow, a graduate of Elmwood High School, received his bachelor's degree in agricultural engineering from UNL in 1971. That year he was named the O.J. Ferguson Award winner as the outstanding senior in the College of Engineering and Technology. He was a member of Sigma Tau (now Tau Beta Pi), Alpha Epsilon – the agricultural engineering honorary – and was in FarmHouse.
After graduation, Rosenow became the Nebraska director of tourism. He was the nation's youngest to direct a state tourism program at age 21. His impact there is still evident through his "Nebraska, the Good Life" marketing program and Nebraska Vacation Guides. During his time as director, the Nebraska Department of Tourism programs won several regional and national awards, including two Discover America Awards.