Professor emeritus and former chair of the department of geography at Columbia, Bill Hance, died on July 12, 2008. Hance was born in New York City. He served during World War II as a naval officer and later earned his PhD from Columbia University (1949). Hance was an active member of the American Geographical Society and served a term as AGS President from 1972-73. He also served on the faculty advisory committees of the American Assembly, the Columbia University Press, and the Smithsonian Institution International Program on Population Research, and on many Columbia committees including the University Senate.
Hance was a founding fellow and director of the African Studies Association. In 1967, he was named an honorary fellow of the AGS, and was honored by the Nigerian Society of Geographers for “distinguished contributions to the science of geography in Africa.” He gave visiting lectures on Africa at many of American colleges and universities in the 1950s, when the future of Africa was emerging an important topic of public debate in the U.S. in the years following WW II. Hance also served as a consultant to several government agencies, including the State Department and the Office of Naval Research.
Bill Hance (Necrology). 2008. AAG Newsletter 43(8): 17.