College of Agriculture & Natural Resources
Institute of Applied Agriculture

Alumni Spotlight: Tony Gustaitis '80

Golf Course Superintendent and 1980 graduate of the Institute of Applied Agriculture Tony Gustaitis has spent the past 28 years at Whitemarsh Valley Country Club in Lafayette Hill, PA. Being a superintendent is a way of life for Gustaitis, who loves spending his days outdoors.

Although he admits that the days are long at times, the rewards are great when the job is done.

“That’s the hard part—the commitment to it,” he said. “There are long days and seven-day weeks. You don’t have the same schedule as everyone else!” But, he adds, that he enjoys the satisfaction of looking out onto a beautiful green course. Considering where Gustaitis works, it’s easy to see why. Just outside Philadelphia, Whitemarsh Valley Country Club is a premiere Pennsylvania golf club with 125 gorgeous landscaped acres and a rich history.

Gustaitis, a Golf and Turfgrass Management graduate from the IAA, is quick to credit his education at the IAA with helping him throughout his career.

“Let me just say that the IAA has prepared me so well for this job,” said Gustaitis. “I interview many people who have come from other schools, and I get frustrated because they don’t have the skills that the IAA instructors make sure you get when you’re a student there. No other program is as good!”

Even now, after spending most of his career in Pennsylvania, Gustaitis makes it a point to root for the UMD teams at the annual Turf Bowl competitions. “I always look forward to seeing how our Terps do in the Turf Bowl. They get excellent guidance from UMD, and I am sure all turf alum are very proud of them,” he says.

Gustaitis remembers his days as a student and his experiences beyond the classroom.

“Kevin [Mathias] was my favorite instructor. We played basketball together and enjoyed adult beverages afterward!” he laughed. 

When asked, Dr. Kevin Mathias also recalled this event. "I will never forget the basketball game between the IAA faculty and IAA students such as Tony Gustaitis and Glenn Smickley. The reason I remember that game so vividly is that the students used herbicide names such as 2,4-D as their jersey numbers and the ref calling out their numbers in bewilderment when a foul was called against them."

Gustaitis said that if he could do it all over again, he wouldn’t change anything. “I’d repeat my experience at UMD,” he said. “To those students in the IAA now, make the most of it! And get as much field experience as you can. It’s so important!”

Above: Tony Gustaitis at Whitemarsh Valley Country Club, where he is a superintendent.

As we celebrate our 50th year, the IAA will shine a weekly spotlight on one of our distinguished alumni. Remember to save the date for our 50th Anniversary Gala on May 14th at the College Park Marriott Hotel & Conference Center.

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