Fish and Boat Commission policy and planning director to lead lecture March 22

Penn State Hazleton and University alumnus Robert T. Caccese will present campus’ annual George Tseo memorial lecture
Man in suit and tie standing outdoors in front of a tree.

Robert T. Caccese, director of policy and planning for the Pennsylvania Fish and Boat Commission, will be the featured speaker during the campus’ annual George Tseo memorial lecture Friday, March 22.

Credit: Robert T. Caccese

HAZLETON, Pa. – Penn State Hazleton’s Lectures and Cultural Events committee will feature alumnus Robert T. Caccese, director of policy and planning for the Pennsylvania Fish and Boat Commission, as guest speaker for the campus’ annual George Tseo memorial lecture at 12:20 p.m. on Friday, March 22, in Room 1 of the Kostos Building. The event is free and open to the public. 

Caccese’s lecture, “Protect, Conserve, and Enhance: The Intersection of Policy and Aquatic Resources Management in Pennsylvania,” will explore the integration of policy and natural resources management, specifically in the context of the Pennsylvania Fish and Boat Commission. 

The topic comes on the heels of a multi-year effort recently completed by the commission that revamped regulations regarding conservation challenges, aquatic invasive species, and improved fisheries management, he said. 

During his talk, Caccese said, he is looking forward to promoting the work the Pennsylvania Fish and Boat Commission has been doing with Penn State Hazleton and Assistant Professor of Biology Megan Schall, who studies the impacts of invasive Flathead Catfish on the Susquehanna River. 

At the same time, he is eager to return to where he got his start, he said.

“It’s like a homecoming,” he said, noting that he grew up near campus and attended summer basketball camps hosted by his uncle, former professor, athletic director and head men’s basketball coach Thomas M. Cacccese. 

One of his standout memories was conducting brush pile research with Associate Professor of Biology Chris Goguen in Nescopeck State Park, he said. The pair studied whether the placement of brush piles in a field impacted wildlife. 

“That really set me up for the rest of my wildlife and fisheries degree that I completed at University Park,” he said. 

During pursuit of his degree, Caccese received the John L. George Student Conservation Award and was recognized as Outstanding Senior in the School of Forest Resources. 

After completing his juris doctoral degree from Penn State's Dickinson School of Law in 2015, he worked as a staff attorney for Penn State, focused on water law and policy, wildlife and fisheries issues, and the food-energy-water nexus. Before his policy position with the Pennsylvania Fish and Boat Commission, he was an attorney for the agency. 

He has published several papers on water law and policy, testified before U.S. Congress, and serves as an adjunct instructor for Penn State Law, where he teaches an online environmental law and policy course through Penn State World Campus.

“I’ve always been an avid outdoorsman and thought I would chart my own path with the wildlife degree and law degree,” he said. “As far as advice for students who may want to follow suit, I’d say figure out the general topic or field you want to work in and find a way to get experience or get involved. Be persistent and bet on yourself.” 

The George Tseo lecture is held annually each spring semester in memory of Tseo, a professor of earth sciences at Penn State Hazleton from 1988 until his death from cancer in 2005. The series honors his memory and diverse interests by featuring speakers with backgrounds in science, history, art, music and other fields.