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Geography End of the Year Update 2015

Happy New Year!

Best Wishes and Happy New Year 2016!

The Geography Department has much to celebrate this year, even as we mourn the loss of two dear members of the department family.

Some of the highlights of the past year (detailed below) include updated facilities, new department members, research and teaching initiatives, and the graduation of many wonderful students.

We look forward to continuing our efforts to promote excellence in geographic education in the new year, and hope to hear from alumni and friends soon!

Stay in touch!

We are gathering email addresses for alumni interested in building a UO Geography Alumni community. Click here to find out how to stay in touch. 

Want to hear more about what’s going on in UO Geography? Like us on Facebook at University of Oregon Department of Geography, follow us on Twitter (@oregongeography), and follow us on Instagram (@uogeog).

See below for information about donations to the department this year, or go to this site to Give Online.

 Highlights of 2015

jun 15- ellen an christine

Eliza Pearce, Ellen Heenan, and Christine Mathew celebrating their graduation in June of 2015.


Congratulations to the 71 Undergraduate, 7 Masters students, and 2 PhD students who graduated during 2014-2015 academic year! We look forward to hearing from all of you as you continue onward.

Department and University Awards

As you may recall, each year the department honors people for their achievements or service: The Edward T. Price Award for Outstanding Department Service was given to Prof. Dan Buck; the Bill Loy Award for Cartographic Excellence went to Dan Pratchenko and Christine Grummon. The Trussell Family Scholarship winner was Dylan Molnar; and the Irwin and Renee Holzman Family Scholarship winners were Lyssandra Gollege, Ellen Heenan, and Christine Mathew. The Sandra F. Pritchard Mather Graduate Fellowship Fund in Geography was awarded to PhD candidate (Jerilynn) M Jackson. In Fall 2015, the departments new MAPP Challenge first place award was given to Rudy Omri for his interactive online map Walkviz:Redmond – Geovisualization of Walkability in Redmond, Oregon. Katherine Ballard received the second place award, and Elaina Colussi won the third place award.

Professor Alexander Murphy received the University of Oregon Excellence award for Graduate Mentors.

Condon Hall Remodeling

Several remodeling projects to Condon Hall were completed over the summer. These included improved instructional spaces, offices, and the creation of facilities for the Department’s new Spatial Computation, Cognition, and Complexity Laboratory (S3C).  A story about the development and research in the S3C lab is described in the story “Map Quest” published in the Oregon Quarterly Winter 2015 issue.

Geography tools at the first open house of 2015

Geography research equipment on display at the first open house of 2015 – the heli-kite, river raft, and Inflatoglobe.

Open House

The department hosted “open house” events at Condon Hall in the spring and fall of this past year. The events showcased research and course offerings of the department and career opportunities for geography graduates. Students, faculty and alumni had a great time interacting, touring the department facilities, and seeing some of the ‘tools of the trade’ used by geographers for research, teaching, and fun. We look forward to hosting another event in the coming spring, and hope to see department friends and family there.

New additions to the faculty and staff

We are pleased to welcome new people to the department. Assistant Professors Hedda Schmidtke and Leigh Johnson are new faculty members, and RaDonna Aymong, Erica Maciel join the office staff of Lisa Knox.

Dr. Hedda Schmidtke joined the department in Fall 2015 with research interests in GIScience, scale, and granularity. Dr. Leigh Johnson joins the department in Spring 2016, with research interests in finance and nature, political ecology, risk, development, and the regions of East Africa and Latin America.  The department looks forward to the addition of these two new tenure-track faculty.

Dr. Andrew Marcus and new UO President Michael Schill.

Professor and Interim Dean Andrew Marcus presents new UO President Michael Schill with the award-winning Atlas of Oregon.

Extending our influence

Dr. Shaul Cohen is Director of the University’s new Prison Education Committee. The committee help coordinate a meeting next term between the Director of the Oregon Department of Corrections and senior staff and President Schill and UO senior staff to promote engagement with the prisons and the creation of educational opportunities for students on campus as well as those behind bars. Dr. Cohen continues his work with the Carnegie Global Oregon Ethics Program (CGO) and the Inside-Out Prison Exchange Program.

Dr. Dan Buck in an Advisory Council member of the growing Food Studies Program at the UO.  Dr. Dan Gavin serves as Director of the Environmental Science Institute at the UO.

Dr. Amy Lobben (Department Head) is participating in the University’s Disabilities Studies Initiative, which is planning to launch a new minor and graduate specialization in Disabilities Studies in the coming year.

Departed Friends

It is with sorrow that we mourn the passing of two dear members of the community, but it is with pleasure that we remember and celebrate the lives of PhD student Doug Foster, and retired Professor Susan Hardwick. Both of them passed away unexpectedly in 2015 and were great contributors to the friendly atmosphere of the department. They will be sorely missed.

Susan’s life was celebrated in a remembrance and gathering of family and many friends on the University of Oregon campus on November 21, 2015. A remembrance of Professor Hardwick is available on the College of Arts and Sciences site: Remembering Susan Hardwick, Educator, Mentor and Scholar

To remember Doug and to recognize his contributions to the community, the Geography Department has established the Doug Foster Community Building Award.  This annual award is to be given to a graduate student who exemplifies his commitment to fostering a supportive and collaborative environment in the department.

Plans for 2016

During the upcoming year the department will continue to develop first rate instructional spaces, and to improve facilities for graduate students, staff, and faculty to collaborate easily and to work efficiently. Faculty research programs, teaching efforts and program changes at both the undergraduate and graduate level will continue into the new year.

Thanks! and how to give

We have much to be thankful for this year, and much of our success is due to the participation and support of many people. So far this year alumni and department friends have generously donated over $19,000 to the department, in amounts from $20 to $6000. These contributions are crucial to the continuing excellence of the department and are greatly appreciated.

To make an online tax-deductible donation to the department yourself, click here: GIVE GEOGRAPHY; or send a check to:

Geography Department; 1251 University of Oregon; Eugene, Oregon 97403.

We thank you for your generosity.

Best Wishes for 2016!

Best wishes for the upcoming year. Look for many faculty members and graduate students at the upcoming AAG annual meeting, this year in San Francisco, March 29-April 2, 2016.