Oscar Horst

1924 - 2010

Oscar Heinz Horst, Professor Emeritus at Western Michigan University (WMU), died at the age of 86.

Horst was born on March 4, 1924 in Newark, Ohio. After serving in World War II with the U.S. Army, he earned a B.S. in Geography in 1949, an M.A. in 1951 and a Ph.D. in 1956, all from The Ohio State University. In the same year, he joined Western Michigan’s Geography Department as Assistant Professor. He was promoted to Professor in 1964, chaired the department from 1972 to 1975 and again from 1977 to 1978, and retired in 1987 following 31 years of service at WMU.

Horst specialized in Latin American and Physical Geography. He published over 40 professional articles, books, and book chapters over the course of his career and gave over 40 presentations at professional meetings. He led numerous educational trips to Mexico, Guatemala, and the Dominican Republic, and served as a visiting professor at universities in Florida, Kansas, and Michigan, the Dominican Republic, Costa Rica, Mexico, Ecuador, Guatemala, and Japan. He was actively affiliated with the Pan American Institute of Geography and History, and the Organization for Tropical Studies.

An avid and talented photographer, Horst documented landscapes and people throughout the course of his many travels. The Center for Mesoamerican Research is the benefactor of his notable collection of materials on Guatemala.

Horst received numerous awards throughout his professional career including Western Michigan University’s Alumni Teaching Excellence Award, WMU’s Distinguished Faculty Scholar Award, and the Annual Achievement Award for Contributions in Teaching, Research, and Service from the Latin Americanist Geographers.

Oscar H. Horst (Necrology). 2011. AAG Newsletter 46(6): 17.