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Flashback: Dr. Harm de Blij

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News & Events

March 31, 2014

Remembering Dr. Harm de Blij, who passed away March 25. The "geography giant" visited Bridgewater in 2009. Here's the story:

Dr. Harm de Blij, professor of geography at Michigan State University, delivered his speech, "The Power of Place: Geographic Literacy and National Security," last Wednesday as the Class of '42 Lecture.

Delivered to a capacity crowd in the Moakley Center auditorium, Dr. de Blij's lecture centered on how the places where people live can determine their futures. The talk also illuminated the continuing inequality across the globe between the privileged and poor.

The annual lecture event, initiated by Bridgewater's 1942 graduates, allows the science and math departments to bring a different lecturer to campus each year. This year was the geography department's turn.

Dr. Robert Hellström, chair of the geography department, introduced Dr. de Blij and spoke about the geographer's impact on campus and beyond.

"Dr. Harm de Blij represents the great analytic strength of geography," he said, "and his presence here tonight enhances the work that our department is doing to emphasize how important geography is as we tackle problems at both the local and international levels."

Dr. de Blij was the geography editor on ABC's Good Morning America for seven years. In 1996 he joined NBC News as a geography analyst. He was writer of and commentator for the PBS series, The Power of Place, and has published more than 30 books, including scientific, educational and trade titles, and more than 100 articles. His advocacy of geography in the media and on the public lecture circuit has taken him all over the world.

In addition to the lecture, the Chester and Theresa Smolski Geography Scholarship was introduced to honor Chester Smolski, '51, who was a geography professor in Rhode Island. (From BSU archives, Oct. 31, 2009)

Dr. Harm de Blij speaks in the Moakley Auditorium
Dr. de Blij meets admirers after his talk

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