George Wilcox Peavy was born 12 November 1869 in Howell, Michigan. He received his Bachelor's degree in Liberal Arts at the University of Michigan. He obtained his Master of Science degree in Forestry at his alma mater. After receiving his M.S. degree in Forestry in 1905, he entered the United States Forest Service, during which time he traveled throughout the United States and Europe, observing and writing about forestry use and practices.
In 1910 Peavy was selected to become the head of the newly created Department of Forestry at Oregon Agricultural College. In 1911, he became a member of the Oregon State Board of Forestry and served as director from 1932-1941. In 1913, the OAC Forestry Department was designated as the School of Forestry and George W. Peavy was appointed the first Dean. In 1932 he was appointed acting President of Oregon State College and in 1934 became President. In 1936, he was awarded honorary Doctoral degrees by both the University of Michigan and Willamette University. In 1940, Peavy was appointed Dean Emeritus and President Emeritus of Oregon State College. In 1947, Peavy was elected mayor of Corvallis, Oregon, and served in that capacity until his death on 24 June 1951
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