James R. McDonald

1934 - 2020

James R McDonald, Professor in the Geography Department of Eastern Michigan University from 1965 to 2000, passed away on April 20, 2020.

Jim was born in San Francisco on the 28th of January 1934 and graduated from Katonah High School, New York in 1951. Jim graduated from Antioch College in 1955 with a Bachelor’s Degree in Geography and received a Master’s Degree in Geography from the University of Illinois the following year. He then enlisted in the Army for three years and was assigned to the Counter-Intelligence Corps where he learned French in the Army Language School in Monterey before being assigned to La Rochelle, France, where he spent almost two years. Upon his return to civilian life, he returned to Illinois and completed his doctoral research on the French region of Brittany in 1964. Prior to accepting the position at EMU, Jim was an Assistant Professor at UCLA for two years.

Jim was the recipient of a National Science Foundation (NSF) Postdoctoral, an NSF Fellowship and other awards and grants including National Geographic Society Research Grants; Michigan Department of Natural Resources Grants; and Social Science Research Council Grants. Jim was a proud member of the AAG for over 50 years.

Jim specialized in the cultural, political, and economic geography of Western Europe, especially France; the geography of rural-to-urban and labor migrations; geographical aspects of environmental assessment and preservation; geography of travel and tourism; and the history of geographic ideas.  Jim authored two books, numerous professional papers and book reviews.