John E. Oliver

- 2008

John E. Oliver, professor emeritus at Indiana State University, died on May 9, 2008. He served the Department of Geography and Geology at Indiana State from 1973-2002, including a term as Chairperson from 1982-1986. Oliver was known as an outstanding climatologist, for his dedication to geographic education, and for his contributions as co-founder of the journal Physical Geography, where he served as climatology editor from 1979-2000.

Oliver earned his M.A. and PhD from Columbia University after earning his B.Sc. from London University. He joined the faculty in geography at Columbia, following the completion of his PhD in 1969. He was promoted to Associate Professor in 1972. A year later, he accepted a position as Associate Professor at Indiana State. Oliver’s service to Indiana State included a term as Associate Dean of the College of Arts and Sciences from 1986-1988.

The Climatology Specialty Group (CSG) of the Association of American Geographers made Oliver their first Lifetime Achievement Award winner in 1998, and he served as Chairperson of the CSG from 1984-1986. During his career, Oliver was a Visiting Scientist at NCAR, a member of the AAG/GTU Visiting Geographical Scientists Program, and a Visiting Eminent Professor at the University of Newcastle in Australia. He was awarded the ISU College of Arts and Sciences Distinguished Professor Award in 1996. In 2000, John E. Oliver was awarded an AAG Citation for contributions toward the geography (climate) of Indiana.

Oliver’s teaching and research interests were in physical geography, meteorology, and climatology. He founded the Indiana State Climate Station in 1985 and was instrumental in the establishment of an official NWS weather observation site on the campus in Terre Haute in 1993. His contributions to geography include textbooks on applied physical geography, physical geography, and climatology. Several of his more prestigious contributions include his coauthorship of the “Climatology” chapter in Geography in America with R.G. Barry, W.A.R. Brinkmann and J.R. Rayner (1990); his coeditorship of The Encyclopedia of Climatology with R. W. Fairbridge (1988); and his service as editor of the Encyclopedia of World Climatology (2005). His more recent efforts included a co-authored book, The Global Climate System: Patterns, Processes and Teleconnections, with H.A. Bridgman (2006). A third edition of Climatology: An Atmospheric Science was being planned with co-author J.J. Hidore at the time of his death. Oliver’s last completed work, Indiana’s Weather and Climate, is scheduled for release in the spring of 2009.

John E. Oliver (Necrology). 2008. AAG Newsletter 43(7): 22-23.