March 30, 2017 at 4:58 pm

Geography Professor’s Name To Adorn Hill Near His Former Home

Dr. Hubertus Bloemer, late Associate Professor of Geography at Ohio University, made many contributions to the field of cartography. Now, his name will adorn maps of Athens County, as well.

Dr. Hubertus Bloemer

Dr. Hubertus Bloemer

The U.S. Geological Survey’s Board on Geographic Names formally applied the name Bloemer Berg to a summit near Athens, and near his former home. The name has been entered into the Geographic Names Information System, the nation’s official geographic names repository. The peak, elevation 988 feet, is three miles northeast of Athens and one mile south of Sugar Creek.

The effort to rename the peak started with Ohio alum Ray Postolovski ’91, a student and friend of the late Bloemer who now works for the U.S. Geological Survey. Postolovski approached former OHIO President Roderick McDavis for a letter of support in August 2016, a request McDavis honored. Postolovski earned a B.S. in cartography from the College of Arts & Sciences at Ohio University.

“Hugh Bloemer was committed to Ohio University, the Department of Geography, and especially his students, as reflected in his being named University Professor in 1985,” says Dr. James Dyer, Professor and Chair of Geography. “His legacy lives on through his endowment of two scholarships, including the Bloemer Geography Scholarship which covers a significant proportion of the recipient’s expenses to attend Ohio University.

“It’s befitting,” Dyer adds, “that his legacy lives on cartographically as well, with the designation of Bloemer Berg near Hugh’s former residence, ‘Bloemerburg.’ The berg vs. burg is a play on words: ‘Burg’ can translate as a fortified settlement or castle, whereas ‘berg’ can refer to a mount.  Geography faculty, and former colleagues and students have expressed their appreciation for this tribute, and I’m thankful to Ray Postolovski for making it happen.  I am sure Hugh would have been honored by it.”

Where is Bloemer Berg?

The name has been entered into the Geographic Names Information System. Summit, elevation 988 feet, located in Athens Township, three miles northeast of the City of Athens, one mile south of Sugar Creek; Athens County, Ohio, Sec. 1, T9N, R14W, Ohio River Base; 39°22’06”N, 82°04’52”W; USGS map-Athens 1:24000.

Bloemer became an instructor and director of the Geography Department Cartographic Center at Ohio University in 1971, a role he served until he retired in 2009. He became an assistant professor in 1977 and associate professor in 1984. He taught at Kenyatta University in Nairobi, Kenya, during a Fulbright year in 1989 and 1990, and served as Geography chair from 1993 to 1998. He also served as chair of Faculty Senate from 2001-04. A native of Germany, he died in 2011.

His research interest was in the field of high mountain remote sensing cartography.

“His association with high mountain remote sensing took him to many interesting parts of the world, including Tibet and Kazakhstan, and he completed three ascents of Mount Kilimanjaro. In his spare time over the past decade, he designed and constructed three ‘gazebos’ attached to his house, known affectionately to his friends as ‘Bloemerburg,’ and when he was not building, he ran off his excess energy at the racquetball court,” reports the Athens Messenger in his obituaary.

“Dr. Bloemer was a one-of-a-kind person and his contributions to Ohio University and our community are vast,” McDavis wrote in his letter of support. “What a fitting honor for such an esteemed man.”


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