Magazine article Focus

In Memory of Melvin G. Marcus

Magazine article Focus

In Memory of Melvin G. Marcus

Article excerpt

Melvin G. Marcus was a well-loved and respected man -- a generous teacher, excellent researcher, mentor, husband, father, and friend. Mel died of a heart attack on March 2nd, 1997, in the high snows of the San Juan Mountains while leading his annual student field trip to Silverton, Colorado. Known for his love of the field, he encouraged both undergraduate and graduate students to experience geography, and was one of the first to encourage women to participate in field projects and become deeply involved in the sciences. He was a delightful person, eloquent, full of energy, wisdom, wit and tact, able to direct his "troops" with a soft hand.

He achieved many heights in his lengthy career. Mel served as President of the Association of American Geographers (AAG) from 1978-79. He served as Councilor of the American Geographical Society from 1980 and as Vice President from 1986 onward. As a Councilor, he served on the Honors Committee, Executive Committee, and Nominating Committee. He was representative for the American Geographical Society to the U.S. National Committee for the International Geographical Union, and chaired that committee. He was the prime moving force behind that committee prevailing upon the National Research Council to do the first assessment in over fifty years of what geography is today. He tried to not overpower others in Council meetings, but there is no question that his judgement unfailingly prevailed.

Shortly after his death, two fine honors were awarded him posthumously. One was the Cullum Geographical Medal, the American Geographical Society's most venerable medal. …

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