John Peppers, Ph.D

Peppers wins 2024 Award of Excellence

The Musser International Turfgrass Foundation has selected John Peppers, Ph.D, as its 2024 Award of Excellence recipient.

The award is given to outstanding Ph.D. candidates who, in the final phase of their graduate studies, demonstrated overall excellence throughout their doctoral program in turfgrass research.

Peppers received his B.S. in turfgrass science and M.S. degree in turfgrass weed science at Auburn University under Dr. Scott McElroy. His research at Auburn focused around potential turfgrass uses with pinoxaden (Manuscript herbicide). He went on to earn a Ph.D. in plant pathology, physiology and weed science with a concentration in turfgrass weed science from Virginia Tech under Dr. Shawn Askew. While at VT, he worked as a graduate research assistant as well as the field trial manager for Dr. Askew’s lab. His dissertation was titled, “Evaluation of novel techniques to control annual grasses in intensively managed turfgrass systems”. His Ph.D. research centered around the implementation of herbicidal programs and application technologies for annual bluegrass, crabgrass, and goosegrass control on and around golf course putting greens.

Peppers has already published 14 peer-reviewed research papers from his M.S. and Ph.D. projects and has five more currently in draft or under review on the topic of turfgrass weed science. He is an author of more than 50 scientific abstracts and has given approximately 60 research presentations nationally and internationally. He plans to focus his career on providing practical, research-based solutions for turfgrass managers.

“I am extremely honored to receive the Musser Award of Excellence,” Peppers said. “I have long admired many of the previous winners as these are some of the biggest names in turfgrass research. I am humbled to be mentioned among such a prestigious group. This achievement would not have been possible without the constant support of my wife Cynthia, my family, my fellow graduate students, and Drs. Shawn Askew and Scott McElroy.”

The criteria for selecting award recipients include graduate work, academic record, dissertation, publications, leadership, and extracurricular activities. To date, awards have been granted to doctoral students from universities including Arizona, Auburn, Cornell, Georgia, Maryland, Minnesota, Nebraska, North Carolina State, Ohio State, Penn State, Purdue, Michigan State, Rutgers, Tennessee, Texas A&M and Virginia Tech.