George R. Rumney

1915 - 2009

George Richard Rumney, Professor Emeritus at the University of Connecticut, died recently at the age of 94. His 1968 college textbook, Climatology and the World’s Climates, laid the foundations for the burgeoning study of climate and climate change. Rumney earned a bachelor’s degree from the University of Michigan in 1940. After graduation, he enlisted in the Royal Canadian Air Force. Rumney subsequently joined the U.S. Navy, where as a lieutenant he commanded a submarine chaser in the Pacific during World War II. He would later attribute his fascination with atmospheric phenomena to his years at sea. Following the war, Rumney joined the Office of Strategic Services (OSS) for his knowledge of geography and mapping skills before returning to the University of Michigan, where he earned a PhD in 1947. In 1948, Rumney joined the faculty of the University of Connecticut, where he persuaded his colleagues and the administration that the broad study of geography merited its own separate department. Rumney taught the University of Connecticut’s first course in oceanography and lobbied both the administration and the Connecticut State Legislature to support marine sciences. His efforts culminated in the University’s establishment of The Marine Science Institute (MSI) at UCONN’s Avery Point campus. After his retirement as Professor Emeritus in 1983, Rumney continued to travel, delving into the maritime culture and history of Portugal as well as making trips to Costa Rica’s cloud forests and the Australian outback. He maintained an office at the Marine Science Institute, where he attended seminars and followed the progress of an increasingly international group of graduate students while continuing to write for various professional journals. As a naturalist, avid walker, gardener, and bird-watcher, Rumney headed the Groton Long Point Conservation Commission for several years following his retirement.

George R. Rumney (Necrology). 2009. AAG Newsletter 44(7): 19.