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Geographers influence generations of ASU students

July 15, 2011

Professors Patricia Gober and Anthony Brazel retire

After a combined 71 years of service at Arizona State University, professors Patricia Gober and Anthony Brazel retired this year. In the course of their careers, both were leaders at ASU and in the field of geography.

“Tony and Pat both helped shape the geography program at ASU, while at the same time conducting internationally recognized research. In addition, both mentored several generations of students who have gone on to their own productive careers,” says Luc Anselin, director of the School of Geographical Sciences and Urban Planning in ASU’s College of Liberal Arts and Sciences.

Professor Gober retired from her full-time position at ASU in December 2010, but continues to hold the position of research professor in the School of Geographical Sciences and Urban Planning, as well as co-director of the National Science Foundation’s Decision Center for a Desert City. In addition, she has accepted a faculty position at the University of Saskatchewan in the Graduate School of Public Policy.

Gober’s current research focuses on climate change and water management in the Colorado River Basin, urban climate adaptation, vulnerability assessments, urban heat island development in Phoenix, strategies for decision-making under uncertainty, and best practices in science-policy engagement. As she transitions to her new position at the University of Saskatchewan, she expects to apply her studies to her new home, while continuing to investigate the use of science and visualization for real-world decision-making. Read more about Gober’s impact in the field of geography.

Professor Brazel’s retirement became official July 1. For 22 of his 37 years at ASU, he served as an administrator, holding the positions of director, Laboratory of Climatology, 1979-1988; chair, Geography Department, 1991-1997; associate dean in the Graduate College, 1997-1998; manager of the Southwest Center for Environmental Research and Policy, 2001- 2003; interim director of the School of Geographical Sciences, 2006-2007; and associate director for the school, 2007-2010.

As the Arizona State Climatologist, Brazel led a program of stakeholder-driven research on local topics including effects of desertification on temperature, contributing factors to dust storm generation, and climate vulnerability associated with neighborhood landscaping. In more recent years his research focused on the diverse effects of urbanization on climate.

As he begins retirement, Brazel will continue to conduct research and work with graduate students. He will also continue his professional involvement, remaining active in the Arizona-Nevada Academy of Science, whose journal he edits; as well as with the Association of American Geographers – for whom he serves on the Scientific Freedom and Responsibility Committee, and as an editor of its journal – and with the International Association on Urban Climate. Read more about Brazel’s impact in the field of geography.

“Both faculty members have contributed significantly to geographic knowledge and to ASU,” says Anselin. “We look forward to their continued work as they each enter a new phase of their careers.”

Written by Barbara Trapido-Lurie
School of Geographical Sciences and Urban Planning

Carol Hughes,
College of Liberal Arts and Sciences