August 19, 2018 at 12:25 pm

Message from the Chair | Geofest Awards, Alumni Visitors, Faculty Kudos

Dr. Dorothy Sack , close-up portrait

Dr. Dorothy Sack

Congratulations to our spring graduates! In addition to those who completed a geography major, minor or master’s degree, 23 graduating seniors earned certificates in GIS or in Wealth and Poverty. Our newest alumni are off to exciting futures, a few of which are highlighted elsewhere in this newsletter. We wish all recent graduates the best, and hope to hear from you often.

Departmental named scholarships for the 2018-19 academic year were announced at this year’s Geofest in April. Connor Belak and Brandon Humphrey received the Joe Ferguson Memorial and Elizabeth Llewellyn Robe Scholarships, respectively. The Hubert and Constance Wilhelm Scholarship was presented to Katie Gardner. Christian Slee received the Regina L. Bloemer Scholarship and Ryan Shearer the Hugh Bloemer Memorial Scholarship. Bloemer Geography Scholarships were awarded to Anna DeGarmo, Emily Mullins, and Susie Beveridge. Olive Emler Ross Scholarships were presented to Kyle Bussard, Lauren Bennett, Sonya Ferrier, Jessica Oswald, and Alexandra Koran. We have an impressive group of undergraduate students and greatly appreciate the opportunity to acknowledge academic excellence with the named scholarships established in honor of these esteemed individuals.

Spring semester brought honors and accomplishments to our faculty and teaching assistants as well. Edna Wangui received the Outstanding Mentor Award at the OU Women’s Appreciation dinner in March, as well as a Fulbright Award in support of her Faculty Fellowship Leave in Kenya this year. Tom Smucker was also awarded a Faculty Fellowship Leave for 2018-19 and will be conducting research in Africa. Ryan Fogt was recognized as Outstanding Advisor for an OHIO student organization, the OHIO Chapter of the American Meteorology Society (OUCAMS). Jana Houser received a large, multi-year grant from NSF to further her research on tornadoes. We also congratulate geography master’s student Christine Aiena on being honored with the university-wide, student-nominated, Graduate Associate Outstanding Teaching Award. Finally, the department as a whole underwent its seven-year review this spring, and received an excellent report from the review committee.

Other exciting developments in the department include the new online graduate certificate in Geospatial Information Science: GIS and Cartography, which launches this fall semester.

A few of the alumni who visited campus in spring semester include Rob and Carin Painter (both B.S. ’93); Rob received the Ohio University Konnecker Medal for Commercialization and Entrepreneurship. It was a pleasure for me to be able to meet Lt. Col. Clark Fuller (ret.) (M.A. ’75), who came by the department early in the semester. Patrick Ertel (M.A. ’05) and Abby (Porter) Ertel (M.A. ’03) visited with their two young daughters in May. Faculty met up with several alumni at the AAG meeting in New Orleans in April. Please try to stop by the department to say hello if you find yourself passing through Athens.

We greatly appreciate the generosity of those friends and alumni who made contributions to the department and our scholarship funds in 2017-18. Such gifts are vital to helping us continue to provide the best educational experience possible to our students. A heartfelt thanks to our recent donors: Tim and Betsy Anderson, Gary and Terri Belcher, Nicholas Bellar, Mary Casey, Ron and Kris Cox, Robin and Brian Denman, Patricia Dodson, Deanna Dove, George and Stefanie Drobnock, Clark Fuller, Gabrielle and Steven Gordon, Kimberly Grigsby, Donald and Lisa Hamilton, Elizabeth and Scott Hebebrand, Dennis and Susanne Houmard, Ron Isaac, Thomas Janus, Mike and Elizabeth Kelley, Deborah King, Julie Landes, Jeffrey Leonhard, Steven McGlone, Joseph and Sandy Moore, Daniel and Nancy Olson, Diana Wilhelm Pollock, Craig Post, Tim Schmitt, Bob and Margaret Seebald, Max and Laura West, Reid Wetterau, and Daniel and Paula Wise.

If you’re coming to Homecoming, we hope you’ll stop by the College of Arts & Sciences tent at Tailgreat Park on Saturday, Oct. 20,  from 11:30 a.m. to 1:30 p.m.

Dorothy Sack
Professor and Chair of Geography at Ohio University

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