Schwartz presented national award by Geographers

Mark D. Schwartz, Professor of Geography at the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee, was recently awarded the Ronald F. Abler Distinguished Service Honors by the National Council of the Association of American Geographers (AAG), for his service to geography through effective leadership in his department and within the discipline of geography, for the lasting institutional impact he has created for geography graduate programs, and for his exemplary actions toward rebuilding an academic core and faculty in the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee Geography Department.

The Honors were conferred by the AAG in Denver, Colorado, at the Annual Meeting Awards Luncheon, which was held on Saturday, April 9, 2005. Schwartz earned his doctorate at the University of Kansas (1985), and his bachelor's and master's degrees at Michigan State University (1980, 1982). He is also an active researcher, considered a pioneer in thinking of vegetation phenology (the branch of science dealing with the relationships between climate and plant growth) on the continental scale. His work has been instrumental in elevating the study of the annual springtime leafing and blooming from an arcane topic, of interest primarily to botanists, to an essential tool for assessing global climate change.

Victoria A. Lawson (2004-2005 AAG President) presenting Mark D. Schwartz the Ronald F. Abler Distinguished Service Honors
Victoria A. Lawson (2004-2005 AAG President) presenting Mark D. Schwartz the Ronald F. Abler Distinguished Service Honors

The award citation is as follows:

"As a relatively junior faculty member of the department of geography at the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee, Mark Schwartz took on the task of chair. As departmental chair he enabled the department to survive a critical period when the University administration sought to eliminate the Ph.D. program. Not only that, he led the department to emerge with a new sense of direction and the resources for faculty renewal and growth. Moving from threatened closure in 1998, a new doctoral program with a curriculum based on 'Urban Environments' was developed and approved by 2000. Mark has also facilitated the reorganization of the core curriculum for undergraduate majors in geography, including appropriately defined internships and studies abroad, and the modification of the Masters program. In the words of one of his colleagues, Mark has 'overseen the transformation of a faltering department of six faculty into a thriving department of twelve faculty.' His service extends beyond his department, to include current responsibilities as Chair of both the faculty executive committee at this university, and of the Phenology Commission of the International Society of Biometeorology, as well as a past term as a Director of the AAG Climate Specialty Group."

"For his service to geography through effective leadership in his department and within the discipline of geography, for the lasting institutional impact he has created for geography graduate programs, and for his exemplary actions toward rebuilding an academic core and faculty in the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee Geography Department, Mark Schwartz is presented the 2005 Ronald F. Abler Distinguished Service Honors."