By George Mauzy
On Sept. 20, Ohio University's Department of Geography announced the creation of a new scholarship named in honor of Ohio University Professor Emeritus Hubert Wilhelm, a renowned historical geographer who came to the United States as a German immigrant after World War II. He was twice honored as a University Professor during his tenure at Ohio University, which spanned from 1963 to 1998.
The Hubert and Constance Wilhelm Geography Scholarship, named in honor of Hubert and his wife, will be awarded annually beginning in 2005 to a geography student who has at least a 3.35 G.P.A. and 45 or more completed credit hours. The announcement of the scholarship was made by Wilhelm's son, David, who is chair of the Ohio University Alumni Association Board of Directors and president of Wilhelm and Conlon Public Strategies in Chicago.
"My father saw uniqueness in every person he met and he always had great enthusiasm for teaching," David Wilhelm said. "It is a great honor for me to honor him as well as my mother, Connie, for the wonderful work they've done as parents."
The money to endow the scholarship was raised by Hubert's children and the Ohio University Department of Geography. Hubert's daughter, Suzanne Robinson, and his wife, Constance, were also in attendance.
"This was a total surprise for me," Hubert Wilhelm said. "I almost feel that I don't deserve such an honor, however I am most happy that the scholarship will perpetually help students who study geography at Ohio University. This was just a wonderful and great surprise for me."
"Hubert Wilhelm is considered the father of the Department of Geography at Ohio University," said Professor of Geography Hugh Bloemer. "He was the first chair of the department after it separated from the Geology Department in the late 60s. It is an understatement to say that he is well respected by his peers and his family and I believe this scholarship is a nice way to honor him for his many years of excellent service."
The scholarship announcement came during the Eastern Geographers Association's 2003 Fall Meeting at the Ohio University Inn. Several of Wilhelm's former students presented academic papers in his honor and several people spoke fondly about him as a person before the announcement of the scholarship was made.
"He changed the direction of my life," said William Hunter, a former student. "I didn't know what I wanted to do when I was in college, but by taking his class I came to appreciate and love cultural geography. His legacy is assured."
George Mauzy is a media specialist with University Communications and Marketing.